Na­tional vol­un­teer award for Cam­bridge stu­dent

Waipa Post - - News -

Six­teen-year-old Cam­bridge High School stu­dent Maddy Strat­ford has won the na­tional New Zealand Rid­ing for the Dis­abled Young Vol­un­teer of the Year award.

Her win was an­nounced at the NZRDA an­nual Awards Din­ner in Welling­ton on May 26 and took RDA Cam­bridge op­er­a­tions man­ager Vanessa Don­nelly by sur­prise.

Vanessa says as MP Kris Faafoi was read­ing out the ci­ta­tion for the Young Vol­un­teer of the year, she be­gan to recog­nise the words he was read­ing.

“They were my words I had writ­ten a few weeks prior, talk­ing about one of our own amaz­ing young vol­un­teers.”

Vanessa says Maddy is a de­serv­ing win­ner.

“We all have those vol­un­teers whom we’re ex­tra glad of their pres­ence on an RDA day be­cause we know we have some­one we can count on to get on with the job.

“Maddy is one of those vol­un­teers for us at Cam­bridge RDA.

“She is def­i­nitely not just there for the horses and that can be a novel con­cept for the younger vol­un­teers,” she says.

Maddy and her younger sis­ter Sophia, 14, started vol­un­teer­ing at RDA six years ago.

They have been reg­u­lars at Satur­day morn­ing ses­sions since then, muck­ing out pad­docks, clean­ing tack, work­ing with the horses and do­ing other jobs un­til they turned 14 and were able to com­plete the vol­un­teer train­ing course.

“I was 10 when I started at RDA and be­ing 14 seemed so long away then, but I wanted to stay to be an of­fi­cial trained vol­un­teer,” says Maddy.

“I re­ally en­joy work­ing with the rid­ers and it’s great to see how far they’ve come since I first started. I also love the at­mos­phere. It’s a great com­mu­nity and ev­ery­one is so kind to each other.

“I knew RDA had nom­i­nated me for a Waipa¯ Youth award, but that’s not un­til next week and I had no idea about the na­tional RDA awards.

“I was stunned when Mum read out Vanessa’s email — it’s such an hon­our.”

Maddy’s win is the sec­ond ma­jor award for RDA Cam­bridge in the last 12 months. The group also took out the 2017 Supreme Win­ner of the Trust­power Waipa¯ Com­mu­nity Awards.

WP050618SPRDA

NEW Zealand Rid­ing for the Dis­abled Young Vol­un­teer of the Year Maddy Strat­ford.

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