Outstanding BE Volunteers recognised at Badminton

Five prestigious awards to recognise incredible service from BE volunteers were presented during the lunchtime dressage break at Badminton Horse Trials this afternoon.

Nominations for the awards were submitted by British Eventing Officials and Organisers and the winners selected by a panel, which was headed up by BE President, Jane Holderness-Roddam. The awards and their winners were:

Volunteer of the Year Award
Due to the outstanding accolades delivered by those nominating our two winners, the Panel could not decide between them. As there have been no awards during the Covid period, it was agreed, without hesitation, to present this award to both candidates who are equally deserving.


Yvonne Smith
Since the inception of Kirriemuir, Yvonne has never missed leading her team in the start box. One year stands out in particular – when the event ran on 3 October 2021, it was one of only two events in Scotland to run during COVID and was facing the challenge that storm ALEX was due to hit. Having struggled so much to get permission to run, the event decided to not cancel as the ground could stand it. The country received the greatest rainfall in any single day averaged out across the UK, beating the previous record on the 25 August 1986. Yvonne kept her team cheerful and looked after until the last horse went. She is a much-valued member of the team for Glamis and Kirriemuir and always gives such a cheerful good luck to competitors as they depart the start box.

Dudley Thompson
Dudley (with his late mother Sue) acted as chief dressage steward at Isleham horse trials for 17 years and then, after a short break, worked as a provisional scorer in control for five years. Subsequently, for the last two years, as chief cross country steward. Additionally, for the last four years he has been cross country steward at Little Downham three times a year. He is also remembered many years ago at Weston Park – when sadly his horse failed the first horse inspection, Dudley and his Mother remained for the duration, presenting themselves each morning to volunteer for any position which needed filling and all with his trademark wide smile and good humour. An all-round “good guy”.

Young Volunteer of the Year Award
Isla Gaskin
Isla is 17 now but has been helping at events since she was about 12. She has spent years pole picking and dressage sheet collecting and now she is a little older has been jump judging, helping the official caterer get packed lunches and the official lunches ready, as well as being a huge help in the secretaries at the busy moments. She always has a smile on her face and is a real worker. She just keeps on going and going.

Fence Judge of the Year Award
Anita Shepherd
Anita has jump judged at every BE event that Munstead in Surrey has run since they started 22 years ago. She is a local lady and for at least the first 15 years didn’t drive but was happy, sat on a chair in the middle of a field no matter what the weather threw at her (she was provided with a car whenever possible!). Anita has been absolutely brilliant over the years and her help thoroughly deserves to be recognised.


British Eventing Outstanding Contribution Award.
Jane and Nigel Clark
For as long as can be remembered, Jane and Nigel have been participating in the eventing community. Thirty plus years ago Jane was initially a co-organiser and for the past 30 years Jane and Nigel have been dedicated team members. From fence judging at a mid-week national event to National Technical officials at the Olympics and world Equestrian games, they are there where and whenever you need them. In retirement their work has been the sport and willingly turn to a multitude of tasks, ranging from setting out all the dressage arenas at Blair, Sector Stewarding, photographing cross-country courses at many events for the app, through to preparing large team barbecues at Blair. Ultimately, through their international volunteering efforts, they have become a fundamental asset that is irreplaceable. The sport would be lost without them and of course their trusty sidekick Woody.


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