Saddling up for soldiers charity

Horse riders in period costume ' including two British Army Major Generals - are set to saddle up for ABF The Soldiers' Charity in an historic ride across Northumberland and the Lowlands of Scotland in July.
Horse riders in period costume ' including two British Army Major Generals - are set to saddle up for ABF The Soldiers' Charity in an historic ride across Northumberland and the Lowlands of Scotland in July.

Horse riders in period costume – including two British Army Major Generals - are set to saddle up for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in an historic ride across Northumberland and the Borders later this month.

The group of six will be setting out on a week-long challenge - The Reivers’ Ride - retracing the routes reivers, or rustlers, took across the hilly border area on raiding missions.

In a bid to raise money and awareness for the military charity, the riders will be donning traditional costume during each leg of the ride, which sets off from Callaly, Northumberland, on July 24.

The team will be led by Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, chief executive of The Soldiers’ Charity, who is hoping to spread the word about the charity in the area.

He said: “Our charity helps soldiers, former soldiers and their families across the UK and beyond. We gave over £1m to the North East and Scotland in the last financial year, and by doing this ride we hope that people will be able to learn more about our work and the importance of supporting our soldiers.”

Commemorating historic battles such as Flodden Field and Philiphaugh, the event will also be in memory of high-profile military historian Professor Richard Holmes, who was to be one of the team. Professor Holmes died in April this year aged 65, after a battle with cancer.

Now the group will include Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, Major General Arthur Denaro who is currently an equerry to the Prince of Wales, Michael Cunningham who served in the Queen’s Own Hussars, James Arkell who has an army background and was born into a Wiltshire brewing family, Charles Dent, from Wetherby in North Yorkshire and Patience Anderson, from Selkirk.

Setting out from Calally, the route will take in Flodden, Selkirk and Coldstream, before arriving in Dunbar on July 30.

At each stop-over point, the Lord Mayors or Lord Provosts will be on hand to meet the riders.

Anyone is welcome to join the intrepid team on their route for the day; as long as riders make their own logistical arrangements – and bring their own horse!

In addition to the ride, there will be three events which will be laid on during the event.

On Saturday, July 23, there will be a reception, talk and dinner at Alnwick Castle. Tickets include a black tie reception, guest speaker, Beating Retreat and dinner and cost £60. Call Eric Ingram on 07931 743417 for more information or to book.

On Thursday July 28, there will be a Beating Retreat, reception and talk at Thirlestane Castle. Call Major Roy Robertson on 07960 839175 or email scotland@soldierscharity.org for more details.

On Saturday, July 30, there will be a Reels and Ceilidh event in Dunbar to celebrate the finish of the ride, when it is hoped to try something really different when a eightsome Reel will be attempted.

Members from the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) will be along to demonstrate the Kandahar Reel, recently composed by two serving Black Watch officers and which ABF and RSCDS are jointly promoting as a dance. Contact Major Roy Robertson for tickets.

The team is also looking for sponsors to get behind the Reivers’ Ride. Major sponsors will be invited to one of the events. Go to www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/reiversride to donate.

To join the ride, or for more information, go to www.soldierscharity.org/reivers-ride