Joy Richardson honoured

Joy Richardson listens Sunday as speakers pay tribute to her tenacity in lobbying for equestrian issues in Langley.

Joy Richardson listens Sunday as speakers pay tribute to her tenacity in lobbying for equestrian issues in Langley.

Politicians past and present, horse enthusiasts and friends and family gathered on Sunday to pay tribute to Joy Richardson.

The longtime horse lover has been a fierce advocate for the equestrian industry in Langley for many years, and more pointedly she has pushed for trails, equestrian facilities and her favourite project, the Spirit of the Horse memorial garden at Campbell Valley Regional Park.

The memorial garden is a place where horse lovers can place plaques commemorating the lives of their equine friends, and contemplate all the good times they enjoyed with their horses. It was a project that Richardson started, and for many years was under the sponsorship of Langley Horse Federation. She was a driving force in organizing and paying for its maintenance.

But Richardson has had a very full life beyond that. Born in England in 1925, she was first sitting on a horse at the age of six months. During the Second World War, she was one of a battery of assistants to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In 1957, she first came to Canada, and in 1969 she arrived in Langley to operate Heritage Stables in Aldergrove.

She returned to England for a short time with her beloved horses Hyline Paladin and Hyline Gentry, and enjoyed fox hunting with Prince Charles, among others.

However, the pull of Canada remained strong and she came back to live on a horse property near Campbell Valley Park. She recently sold her property and has retired to White Rock.

Over the years, she has lobbied many politicians on behalf of the horse garden and other equestrian issues. Among those on hand to pay tribute to her were Langley MLA Mary Polak, Township Mayor Rick Green and Councillors Bev Dornan, Steve Ferguson, Kim Richter and Mel Kositsky, former Township mayor John Scholtens and councillors Karen Kersey and May Barnard, City Councillor and Metro Vancouver parks committee chair Gayle Martin and former City councillor Terry Smith.

All funds raised from the event at Langley Golf Centre will go to Pacific Parklands Foundation for maintenance of the Spirit of the Horse garden. Martin, Kositsky and PPF director Rick Hankin also presented Richardson with a plaque which will be mounted at the garden, while Green gave her a certificate of appreciation from Township council.