A jousting tournament is being staged as part of an equestrian centre’s 55th birthday celebrations.

The event at Bunny Hill Riding Centre will also celebrate the 40th birthday of The Knights of Nottingham Jousting Troop – an internationally-known jousting team that’s based at the riding stables on the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire border near Costock.

It will be held during the evening of Saturday March 27th and will feature daring demonstrations and expert horsemanship, based on a Robin Hood theme. The event is also raising money for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Trust.

“We are holding several different events at Bunny Hill Riding Centre to celebrate our 55th birthday, and I’m sure the jousting tournament will go down very well, both with those who have seen the troop before and with those who have never watched jousting previously,” said Sam Humphrey, who runs Bunny Hill Riding Centre with wife Lou. “It’s really entertaining.”

The riding stables, which offers lessons for all ages and at all stages, was founded by Sam’s parents, Freda and the late Bob Humphrey, in 1955. Thousands of people have learnt to ride there since.

A programme of events has been lined up to mark the 55th birthday of Bunny Hill Riding Centre, including a reunion for former pupils, which will be held in June.

More information can be found on the riding centre’s website www.bunnyhill.co.uk or its Facebook page.

The jousting troop was set up by accident in 1970 when Bob Humphrey was asked if he could supply some horses for a medieval-themed festival in Nottingham. At the time there was no professional jousting team in Britain, so stuntmen devised a routine for a jousting tournament which was to be a key feature of the festival. A booking error meant that the stuntmen weren’t available for the seventh day, so Bob was asked to round up a group of male riders to dress up and carry on the tournament for the final day. It was a great success!

The jousting tournament caught the imagination of festival organisers up and down the country and Bob was asked to organise further jousting tournaments. Nottingham Jousting Association was formed and within two years, what started as a hobby became a full-time, commercial enterprise, with Bob’s three sons, Sam, Philip and Stuart all taking part.

The next generation of Humphrey boys has now joined the troop, which travels the length and breadth of Great Britain and has also performed on many occasions overseas, including Sam and Lou’s son Mark, who is a farrier.

In 2006 Sam hung up his jousting spurs and Philip, Stuart and Mark along with several other members of the troop set up the company Medieval Entertainment and renamed the jousting troop The Knights of Nottingham.

Tickets for the jousting tournament on March 27th cost £10 for adults with accompanied under 16s free, and are available from Bunny Hill Riding Centre. Telephone 01509 852366.