THE man who has recently taken the reins at a Tranwell-based horse riding facility is aiming to make it an even bigger part of the community.
Martin Peagam, who has a background in education projects, is the new Business Development Manager at the Pegasus Centre for Excellence in Disabled Riding.
He will be getting to know the place better in the next few months, but he is already planning to introduce other activities and link with community groups to help it thrive.
The 53-year-old said: “The centre is a wonderful facility as everyone here is committed to the children and horses and what I’m here to do is develop the business side of the operation.
“We have 75 acres and I want it to be used more often for horse riding and other sporting activities. For example, next month we have an event that will include bike riding, archery and other outdoor pursuits.
“And I can also see the potential for us to link up with arts and local history groups, provide educational opportunities and even host some musical performances.
“Some of my ideas will succeed and some will fail, but if you don’t try you don’t get.
“The heart of the centre will remain disabled riding activities, so anything that I feel would be against it is not on my agenda.
“The other things will only help to fund and sustain disabled riding in this area.”
Mr Peagam – whose wife Janice is a podiatrist and daughter Emma has recently qualified as a doctor – worked in further and higher education for 30 years and in his role as Assistant Principal at Middlesbrough College, he was responsible for the project team that designed and built a new £68million award-winning campus.
The Stockton-on-Tees native also has experience of being in charge of marketing and catering teams as well as facilities management.
He set up his own business after being made redundant by the college, but he was intrigued when he saw an advert for the Business Development Manager post at the Pegasus Centre and decided to apply for the job.
After being chosen for the role following an interview, he started it earlier this month.
“When I went for the interview, everyone was very friendly and helpful,” said Mr Peagam.
“I also saw children doing exercises in the arena and noted the delight on their faces and I decided that I definitely wanted to be part of the set-up at Pegasus.
“One of my roles at Middlesbrough College was being in charge of a gymnastics centre that caters for disabled people and it was successful in terms of increasing participation and developing talented children who went on to do well in competition.
“I believe this centre has the potential to do the same and it would help our aim to become an even bigger part of the Morpeth and Northumberland community.”
The £1.2million complex — which includes an indoor arena, outdoor arena and an education room with catering facilities — is a Riding for the Disabled (RDA) approved centre and it was officially opened by RDA President Princess Anne.
It has both new and specially converted buildings, which provide a range of specialised equipment to ensure that people with a wide range of disabilities are able to ride safely. More than 170 disabled riders are registered with the centre, as well as some able bodies riders.
• On Wednesday, the centre will be taking part in ‘The World’s Biggest Riding Lesson’. This is a national initiative to raise awareness of therapeutic riding and funds for the RDA. For more information, telephone 0845 6581082 or email email@example.com