Community minded card players have raised around £20,000 over the past 33 years to support a Buxton-based charity offering riding therapy for disabled people of all ages.

Weekly whist drives held at Thomas Fields on Brown Edge Road, Buxton help to swell the coffers of Helen Atkin Group Buxton Riding for the Disabled (RDA) – and this year the redoubtable fund raisers have collected £1,000 in the quickest-ever time.

A group of people

The card playing group was launched more than three decades ago by Vivienne Staley (86), of Fairfield, after the late Buxton GP Dr. Geoffrey Willis suggested to Vivienne’s mother, Annie Twigg, that Helen Atkin Group Buxton RDA would benefit from some extra financial help.

“My mother suggested I could get involved, so I started the weekly whist drives and we have been playing in aid of our local disabled riding charity ever since,” said Vivienne, who visited the group at Buxton Riding School for the first time this spring.

“It’s good to know that something that we all enjoy doing has helped to make, and is continuing to make, a difference to so many people’s lives.”

Vivienne runs the regular sessions – which each attract up to 20 people from Buxton and surrounding villages such as Sheen and Crowdecote – with help from her friend and fellow Fairfield resident Maureen Edge (85). Over the years they have been held at various venues, including the Foresters pub and the former Fairfield Methodist Church.

Janine Frost, Chairperson of Helen Atkin Group Buxton RDA, said: “We are extremely grateful to Vivienne and her fellow card players for supporting us, year in, year out, since the early days of the group, back in 1990. And we are all very impressed that so far in 2023, they have managed to raise £1,000 in record time.

“We are a small charity and have to raise every penny that we spend, so sustained contributions from groups like theirs makes it possible for us to offer regular horse riding sessions for around 80 people with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities, from young children to older adults. I’d like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved for their long-term commitment and loyalty to our cause.”

Donations are always welcome towards the cost of Helen Atkin Group Buxton RDA’s valuable work. Anyone interested in fund raising or making a financial contribution is welcome to contact Janine on 07960 961605 or at

Helen Atkin Group Buxton RDA is a voluntary group founded in 1987, providing riding therapy for local disabled children and adults using selected horses and ponies, and is based at Buxton Riding School, Fern Farm. London Road, Buxton.

New volunteers are always welcome, so if you would like to help and want to find out more, please contact Deborah Ward on07940 516060or email

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