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Ilkley charity chairman and inspirational coach on New Year Honours List
A former teacher of deaf and blind children who has been involved with the Riding for the Disabled Association for more than three decades is to receive an OBE for her services to the organisation.
Judy Olby, who will celebrate her 78th birthday this month, has been the Yorkshire and Cleveland regional chairman for nine years.
She is also chairman and trustee of Otley and District RDA Group, which organises regular riding sessions at Draughton Riding Centre, near Addingham, and at Hopewell Equestrian Centre, Guiseley, and organises holidays for disabled riders.
Mrs Olby, of Langbar, Ilkley, said she was “completely gobsmacked” with the honour and paid tribute to the other volunteers, helpers and riding centres who have made local riding for the disabled activities such a success.
“It’s really, really enjoyable work. It’s absolutely amazing,” she said.
She worked as a teacher for 23 years at the now-closed Thorn Park School for Deaf Children, Bradford.
Mrs Olby’s own son, Peter, is one of many to have benefited from the work of the RDA locally.
A keen horseman and gifted grammar school pupil in Skipton, he experienced a brain haemorrhage as a teenager and became disabled overnight.
It was 15 months before he could return home from hospital and at one time a consultant predicted he would never walk or talk again.
Mrs Olby felt involvement with horses would be good for him and arranged for him to meet and stroke a quiet pony.
As time went on, he improved and started attending the newly-formed RDA sessions at Acrecliffe Equestrian Centre, Otley.
She went on to become a committee member and has now served as chairman of the Otley RDA group for 12 years.
Otley RDA membership secretary Nina Prosser told how Mrs Olby developed a routine of starting her professional “homework” at 10pm and working late into the night, while working at the Bradford school “To this day she still retains this demanding routine and can often be found in the early hours preparing for meetings, holidays, lessons, sessions, etc for the RDA,” she said.