Around 300 former pupils, staff and associates of Bunny Hill Riding Centre came from near and far to celebrate the equestrian centre’s 55th birthday.
They travelled from all over the East Midlands and UK to attend the event at the riding stables on the Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire border.
Travelling furthest was Clive Broadbent, who came more than 1,500 miles from Pennsylvania, USA, to join in the celebrations.
Clive was one of the original performers with The Knights of Nottingham jousting troupe based at Bunny Hill Riding Centre, which is also marking a special anniversary this year by celebrating its 40th birthday.
Another guest was Bill Hammond, from the Vale of Belvoir, who appeared in several films and TV shows riding on behalf of Bunny Hill Riding Centre. He was Michael Elphick’s double for stunts during the filming of Boon and took part in the film Lady Jane Grey.
“We were absolutely overwhelmed to see so many people at our 55th birthday reunion,” said Sam Humphrey, who runs the riding stables with wife Lou. “It was great to catch up with old friends who we’d not seen for years, and we’d like to thank everyone for helping us to share the special occasion.”
A raffle at the event raised £495 for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Trust.
The reunion included a lively display by The Knights of Nottingham jousting troupe and music by folk band Growling at the Badger, who are also members of The Knights of Nottingham.
Bunny Hill Riding Centre was launched by Sam’s parents Freda and the late Bob Humphrey in 1955. It has taught thousands of people to ride since opening.
Among those who have taken to the saddle at Bunny Hill Riding Centre are mayors and sheriffs of Nottingham who needed to be able to ride a horse for official parades, Nottinghamshire-born actress Sherrie Hewson, who played Maureen in Coronation Street and currently appears on ITV’s Loose Women, several Nottingham Forest football players, and singer Micky Dolenz, who is best known for his role in the band The Monkees.
The centre’s horses have been used in many films, such as Gladiator, Lady Jane Grey, and First Night, which starred Richard Gere. They’ve also featured in TV programmes as diverse as Boon and Rosie & Jim, and have appeared in several adverts for the likes of Carling Black Label and Mars.
“We have taught thousands of people to ride here since 1955, from very young children to older adults, and it’s wonderful that we are still doing so as a family operation 55 years later,” added Sam. “I would like to pay tribute to my parents for buying this fantastic spot all those years ago.”
Freda and many other members of the Humphrey family were at the reunion to celebrate the milestone.
More information about the riding centre can be found at www.bunnyhill.co.uk or on its Facebook page.
* Photo courtesty of Shaw Pictures.