Small riding charity raises more than £1.2m in less than two months to prevent closure

The amounts raised are almost 10 times the organisation's income last year

Riding in Bushy Park, Teddington (Photograph: Max Ellis Photography/Park Lane Stables)
Riding in Bushy Park, Teddington (Photograph: Max Ellis Photography/Park Lane Stables)

A charity that provides horseriding opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged people has raised more than £1.2m in just two months to secure its future. 

The sums raised by the Park Lane Stables in Teddington, south-west London, amount to almost 10 times its annual income. 

The charity, which is part of the Riding for the Disabled Association network, launched an emergency fundraising appeal at the start of the year after being told the lease on stables would not be renewed when it expired in May and the landlord planned to sell the property. 

This left the charity needing to raise £1m to buy the site or face closure. 

The stables launched the appeal to raise the funds needed and set an initial target of £1m to be raised by 25 February through the Crowdfunder website.

If it did not reach the required amount, all donations would be returned. 

The charity, which provides 3,000 sessions of therapeutic riding for adults and children with disabilities each year, needed to raise almost £500,000 in the final week of its campaign. 

But after its story was featured on BBC Breakfast last week, it received a flood of donations over the next 24 hours to push it past its initial £1m goal. 

Comedians Rory Bremner and Rob Brydon were among the celebrities who backed the campaign. 

The charity has set a revised target of £1.5m and hopes to use any extra funds to purchase additional land for its 23 horses to graze and build a secure arena that could be used for RDA riding and carriage-driving sessions. 

Natalie O’Rourke, who runs the stables, said in a statement on the Crowdfunder webpage: “We did it! Thank you so much for all of your support so far. 

“The big donations have been fantastic and lifted our spirits every time, but to those who pledged their pocket money, and all the people who gave £5 and £10 and said ‘Sorry I can’t give more’, we and our staff and RDA riders would like to say a huge thank you. 

“Between us we made it happen!”

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