A piebald horse called Bailey was the star of the show at fun day at a care home which raised money for an African orphanage.
During the day the impressive steed struck up a special friendship with Rachel Clarke, who was an accomplished show jumper and carriage driver before being struck down by Multiple Sclerosis.
The fun-filled afternoon at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham also included bouncy castles, crazy golf and a coconut shy among the attractions.
For Rachel, 49, from Tarvin, in Cheshire, the chance to meet Bailey, owned by care practitioner Laura Shone, was a real boost.
Rachel, now a resident of the Bryn Bella care home, said: “I had my own horse, a thoroughbred called Sebastian. He was gorgeous and a big horse. I used to compete around North Wales and Cheshire and also did dressage. When I first knew I had MS and couldn’t ride anymore I took up carriage driving while I was still able.
“The fun day was excellent and I so enjoyed getting close to a horse again. I think Bailey knew I loved horses as he nuzzled up to me. It was such a thrill.
“I’ve been at Bryn Bella since May 2016. At first I didn’t know I had multiple sclerosis. I used to get tingling in my hands and feet and then started to lose my balance and had a few falls. Now I have to use permanently use a wheelchair and have lost the use of my hands as well as my feet.
“I have been married for 25 years to Llewelyn who is a non-emergency ambulance driver at Wrexham Maelor Hospital. He calls to see me just about every day and takes me out as often as we can.
“I enjoy the cinema and going to Mold’s Theatre Clwyd. I also get to our home at Tarvin when I can. I love it at Bryn Bella though. The staff are amazing and so kind and helpful.”
Rachel’s parents, Norma and John Hagin, of Kinmel Bay, also attended the fun day and had a wonderful time.
Norma said: “We visit Rachel twice a week and also come along to special events like Saturday’s fun day. It was a lovely event and everyone had a great time.
“Having the chance to get close to a horse again was so special for Rachel and we know how much it meant to her. Bryn Bella is such a happy place and everyone is so kind and helpful.”
Highfield House resident Emma Locker, 41, says the fun day was excellent and she enjoyed going on the bouncy castle.
She said: “I have to use a wheelchair. I had a really bad car crash 20 years ago. I did it in style and spent nine months in hospital. I worked at Carden Park Hotel and was a section head.
“I wasn’t wearing a seat belt when I crashed and the injuries mean I’m a different person now.
“Going on the bouncy castle at the fun day was fantastic. I just wanted to have a laugh and feel normal and not disabled. It was just amazing and a really good fun day.
“I even volunteered to go in the stocks and got a good soaking. I tried to do everything except go near the horse as I’m allergic to them.”
Singing care practitioner Sheena Miranda, who performed at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in July, entertained visitors by performing some of her favourite songs.
She said: “It has been a really good day and so many people came. It’s been good for care and other staff to have a good time along with residents and their families.
“Everyone has had an amazing time and I really enjoyed singing for the audience. It’s nice to see everyone relaxed and having a good time.”
Operations manager Jen Roberts, says proprietors Mario and Gill Kreft wanted to put on an event for staff to enjoy with residents as a thank you for all their hard work.
She said: “The team do a fantastic job and Mario and Gill recognise that and wanted to put on something everyone could enjoy together. Staff members brought their children and families along and mixed with residents and their families.
“The whole event was really well supported and we are so grateful to Wrexham fire fighters who attended and allowed children to see their fire engine.
“Our ethos at Pendine Park is all about enriching lives across the generations and the day certainly achieved that.
She added: “We also held a raffle and that raised an amazing £400 which is being donated to the Father Raphael Orphanage in Kenya.
“And we used an event company called Sunshine Events who donate a percentage of their fee to an Indian orphanage so inadvertently we supported not one, but two, good causes.”
According to Highfield House enrichment and activities co-ordinator Christine Lewis, the whole day was a huge success.
She said: “I know more than 450 people attended the event which is fantastic. It really was a wonderful day and everyone; particularly children had a great time. It was a real morale boost for staff and I know everyone is now hoping we can make it an annual event.”