Little pony walk provides funds for care homes

Pictured at the cheque presentation are Lisa Walker, right, her daughter Alex, mini pony Smurf and Janice Rice, activities co-ordinator at East Riding.
Pictured at the cheque presentation are Lisa Walker, right, her daughter Alex, mini pony Smurf and Janice Rice, activities co-ordinator at East Riding.

A small animal with a big heart was the ‘mane’ attraction during a fund-raising walk.

The group who made the four-hour journey from East Riding Care Home in Morpeth to Wansbeck Care Home in West Sleekburn included Marley the mini pony.

The families of residents, friends of the care homes and members of the public made donations and £225 was handed over to each establishment.

Marley’s owner Lisa Walker runs Mini Pony Hire – she also looks after Smurf, who is more than 20 years old.

She said: “As well as going along to events, parties and special schools, our mini ponies go along to care homes as a nice treat for the residents.

“We wanted to help East Riding and Wansbeck because they have allowed us to use their premises for training our ponies to work with the elderly, including practicing riding in a lift to get to residents who are unable to leave their upstairs rooms due to mobility or mental health issues.

“Those who are mobile enough have the opportunity to sit on a trap and enjoy Marley taking them on an outdoor ride within the grounds of the care home. Smurf can’t do big events as he is now blind, but he is still visiting the residents.”

It has been a busy time for the family business as Marley was among the stars of a pantomime in Cheshire. More information about what the mini ponies get up to is available on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Janice Rice, activities co-ordinator at East Riding, said: “We are so grateful to Lisa and Marley for the money that was raised for our residents fund.

“It will be used for entertainers, trips out and also to buy plants and seedlings for the raised beds we have built so the residents can tend to their own vegetable plots.”