Riding club gets into Xmas spirit for MND

Pictured at last year's Santa Pony Parade in Ballycastle. inbm50-14s
Pictured at last year's Santa Pony Parade in Ballycastle. inbm50-14s

The daughter of a Ballymoney woman who just this year lost her battle with Motor Neurone Disease [MND], is hoping her third Christmas Pony Parade will raise much needed funds for the charity, as well as awareness of the disease.

Sarah McGinn from Ballycastle, lost her mother Mary [nee O’Connor], just 55, to MND in February - five years after she was diagnosed. But after having the disease thrust upon the family, she said she wanted to do something to help.

Pictured at last year's Santa Pony Parade in Ballycastle. inbm50-14s

Pictured at last year's Santa Pony Parade in Ballycastle. inbm50-14s

And out of that wish, Santa’s Annual Charity Pony Parade - which first started out as a trot along Ballycastle beach - was born, and she has raised an impressive £7,000 for the MND Association.

Sarah told the Times her story.

“I lost my mum to Motor Neurone Disease” she said, “It’s just a charity that is very close to my heart and they don’t get a lot of recognition... I have been fundraising for them since 2010, and now my riding group have adopted it.

And the Pony Parade, Sarah added “started off just a group of me and my friends - as a beach ride and we collected some funds from it.

Pictured at last year's Santa Pony Parade in Ballycastle. inbm50-14s

Pictured at last year's Santa Pony Parade in Ballycastle. inbm50-14s

“Then last year there were so many people we moved it... and made it into a festive parade where people turned up in fancy dress. We hope it’s going to be even bigger and better this year.”

This year, Santa’s Annual Charity Pony Parade in Ballycastle will be held on Saturday, December 13 - departing from Sheskburn Recreation Centre carpark at 12.30pm.

Last year over 20 horses and riders dressed up as Santa and reindeer for a good cause, and it is hoped that this year even more will take part.

A charity collection will take place at Diamond from 12.45pm-1.15pm. Refreshments will be served for all participants with a suggested donation £5.

And everyone is encouraged to come along in festive fancy dress with prizes for the best horse and riders and even the best dressed Xmas pooch.