Royal tea for Joy Richardson

Joy Richardson with some of her awards.

The crowning event of this week’s Royal Wedding celebrations in Langley will be an afternoon tea for  well-known English horsewoman and community volunteer Joy Richardson on Sunday afternoon at the Langley Golf and Banquet Centre, 21550 – 44 Ave., from 3-6 p.m.

The Pacific Parklands Foundation and the Langley Horse Federation will honour the long-time Langley resident for her dedication and commitment to the Spirit of the Horse Garden, located in Campbell Valley Regional Park, and to recognize her lifetime of volunteer work in the community. Politicians, horse and community organizations and her many friends are expected to pay tribute to Richardson at the open house. Presentations and speeches get under way at 4:15 p.m.

Now in her mid-80s and still an active horsewoman, Richardson realized her dream more than 10 years ago with the creation of the Horse Garden at the entrance of the Campbell Valley equestrian centre on 208 Street. The garden was built on a one-third-acre of leased land by the Langley Horse Federation in partnership with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, the Township of Langley, the Horse Council of B.C., and many corporate sponsors and horse lovers. Unique in Canada, this beautiful garden celebrates the memories and achievements of many horses and ponies and has become a quiet haven for horse lovers to contemplate and celebrate memories of their faithful friends.

Meandering brick walls, granite benches and a memory lane of bricks lead to the Spirit Courtyard display of inscriptions and personal messages of more than 300 horses. The garden’s mission statement is “to embrace the majesty of equus: animals who have forged the lives of many, and to employ their generous spirit to promote fellowship, hope, courage and strength within our community.”

Richardson, born to an English farmer, regularly sat on a pony before she could walk. She has lived in Canada since 1957 and purchased a property in Aldergrove in 1969 and established Heritage Boarding Stables. Her entire life has been dedicated to working with horses, resulting in many international championships in England, Canada and the United States, where she also judged a variety of horse disciplines from fox hunting, working hunter, jumping, eventing, western performance and dressage. In 1997, she was named Horse Person of the Year by the Horse Council of British Columbia and in 1999 received a Fraser Valley Woman of Excellence Award.

She has also written two books — one about her interesting and busy life called Joy For Living, and the other about 12 of the most influential horsemen in B.C. history, entitled The Horsemen.

The PPF has created a dedicated fund for the maintenance and preservation of the Spirit of the Horse Garden. Instead of admission, donations to the horse garden fund will be graciously accepted at the tea, or can be made online at www.pacificparklands.ca. For more information about the event, or inquiries about making a donation, contact the foundation office at 604-451-6168.

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