A mechanical horse named Pride is proving to be the real deal for two Pendle people who have overcome major obstacles in their young lives.
Pride, which belongs to the Pendle branch of the Riding for the Disabled Association, has helped Felicity Coulthard (21) from Barrowford defeat her cerebral palsy and become a silver medal winner at the Beijing Paralympic Games.
It has also helped three-year-old Eliza Jane Hopkins, who suffered from meningitis, to sit up for the first time.
Having suffered from meningitis as a baby, she was unable to sit up six weeks ago, but she can now hold herself up using the horse.
Eliza's mum Amy Hopkins said: "Not only has Eliza progressed with Pride but in every day physio too. Eliza’s core has become so much stronger from riding Pride and being pushed with sitting unaided, going from lying on the floor and pushing herself to sitting.
"Eliza’s strength and movements have come on leaps and bounds with the added therapy sessions. Kate, Allan and Heather are the back bone to Pendle RDA and without them pushing Eliza (and us) Eliza wouldn’t be where she is today. It makes me look forward to the future so much more and it excites me to see how Eliza has progressed on Pride and what’s to come.
"I couldn’t thank Pendle RDA enough for what they have given to Eliza and my family."
Now, the future of Pride has been secured thanks to the Colne franchise of Coversure.
Back in 2012, the RDA received a Lottery grant of £44,000 to buy the mechanical horse, but the group were short of funds and therefore struggled to pay the insurance premium.
Local franchisee Stuart Wilson offered to cover the costs and pay for the insurance of the horse via a charitable donation.
He said: “I visited the group to watch the horse in action and see first-hand how it is changing people’s lives. For me it is a very touching experience, and I can see the importance that this plays in their lives. I am delighted to have been able to help RDA which is such a worthwhile cause.”
Kate Bailey, from Pendle RDA, said: "Thanks to the support that Stuart and Coversure have given us, we have been able to continue our fantastic service to many new riders and hopefully many more achievements in the future."