Regular readers of my column, will know about the ongoing struggle I have had with my eldest son. He's always been a little bit different, amazing, but different. I had an idea that he was on the autistic spectrum, but it wasn't until earlier this year I finally had an official diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. He'd had a difficult time at infant schools, and was even home schooled for a while. But since he's been at St.Paul's Junior School in Shepton Mallet, he has received tons of encouragement and support, and is now absolutely thriving.
A selection of special needs pupils were even chosen to have a series of confidence boosting horse riding lessons at Divoky Riding school. My son, Rowan (7) was one of the lucky few- and I was bursting with pride, when, last week he was presented with a rosette and certificate of achievement by HRH Sophie , Countess Of Wessex. It was all very hush hush of course, with a member of the royal family visiting little old Shepton.
Only parents, members of the riding school and a few teachers were in attendance. Boiling hot sun shone down on the riding arena, and we all pressed ourselves against the shaded fence in anticipation for a demonstration by the children, and the arrival of a Princess ! I welled up as I watched my usually anxious and uncoordinated child, mount his pony. She was a gorgeous 'Strawberry Roan' named Tilly. Rowan walked her around the manège, and even navigated a roundabout, and some small jumps. The Countess Of Wessex arrived, and politely chatted to everyone in attendance. She looked fabulous in a calf length navy and floral dress, and was friendly and approachable.
Countess Sophie seemed genuinely interested in how the children had progressed, and didn't even mind us taking a few snaps for the family album. Rowan had enjoyed his time at the riding school so much, we are determined to book him a few mornings at Pony Club over the school holidays. For info go to www.divoky.co.uk. OK so he only likes taking about the time-space continuum or minecraft, refuses to eat food unless it's beige, and can't put on his own socks- but he can now ride a horse, so there !
***BREAKING NEWS - Pat Bishop of Divoky Riding school, saw how much progress this group of children have made, and has set up a FUNDRAISING PAGE to allow them to continue riding with the same ponies for a whole year! PLEASE PLEASE DONATE if you can, this really will change these young people's lives- I know from seeing the huge changes already in Rowan.
Click here - every little helps even e few quid...
I hope the weather is just as hot this weekend. Or at least not rainy, as we have 'Music In The Park' on Sunday from 2pm-5pm at Collett Park. Performing upbeat covers of classic tunes, 'Twisted Vinyl' will be replacing 'Juntion 19', who cancelled due to illness. There will be hot food from Pigilicious, a fully licensed bar open from midday, an ice cream station , bouncy castles for the little ones and, of course, a fully stocked cafe.
Sadly the Big Sunday Market planned for this weekend ( and the one in August) has been postponed, due to Mendip Disctict Council's poor handling, promotion and organisation of the event, in many people's opinion! Market founder Helen Reader, is ofcourse dissapointed, but says , it will be a chance to plan an even bigger and better market for September. Lot's of people , including traders had planned holidays in August, so in some ways it makes sense. This is NOT the end of Shepton Mallet's Sunday market! Please come and support the regular Friday market too, and keep on shopping on the High Street !
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)