Edingthorpe woman canters off with top Pony Club honour
Pony Club stalwart June Hannant, from Edingthorpe, has been awarded the national organisation's Secretary of the Year Award for helping boys and girls enjoy the competition and friendship of the club for some 30 years.
Mrs Hannant, 72, joint secretary of the North Norfolk Pony Club, was presented with a silver salver at Cheltenham racecourse in recognition of her work.
Known as 'Aunty June' to many young mothers who remember her from their own club days, Mrs Hannant started helping with her local club when her own children, Roger and Susan, were younger. Today she is still actively involved, one of her grandchildren, Tom Harrison, 13, is still a member and baby granddaughter Annabella Crafer may follow the rest of her family into the saddle.
Mrs Hannant was nominated for the award by Alison Miller, North Norfolk Pony Club district commissioner, who said she was never flustered and her kindness and generosity were renowned.
'She always has time for parents who have questions to ask, help and advice for event organisers and a tie or badge or pair of gloves for a child that has forgotten them,' Mrs Miller added.
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She had been helping at senior and junior camps for many years, staying for the whole week in her caravan at senior events and had organised junior camps until Mrs Miller took over. Even then, Mrs Hannant had asked if she could help.
'I was delighted, and 10 years on June is still at the gate by 8.15am with the clipboard, waiting to check the children in, and at 4.30pm checking them out,' said Mrs Miller.
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She had proved invaluable to the club in a multitude of ways, from her work as membership secretary to scoring, judging, handling paperwork and looking after trophies, and making sure the Pony Club caravan had been cleaned and was fully equipped for events.
Mrs Hannant, who is gradually giving up her duties, said she had enjoyed a great deal of friendship as a result of her work with the club over the years and gained a lot of satisfaction from helping people.
The branch currently has about 175 members aged two to 25, from all over the district and further afield, including Dereham and Yarmouth.
The popularity of keeping ponies was still strong but the economic climate was taking its toll, said Mrs Hannant. A new set of shoes, which could be needed every six weeks, cost �70, feed prices had risen, and keeping a pony in livery - even if the owner looked after it - cost �100-plus each month.
Mrs Hannant still enjoys the occasional hack on family pony Sam. 'I don't do it very often though,' she said: 'At my age, I don't want to fall off!'