British Dressage chairwoman Penny Pollard is standing down from the role while she undergoes cancer treatment.
Pollard will stand down from her position at the Annual General Meeting on September 20. She has served five years in the role and is two years through her second four-year term having served six years previously as Marketing Director.
A statement from British Dressage said Pollard was undergoing “invasive treatment” for cancer.
“I’ve dedicated ten years as a Board level volunteer in this amazing sport, but the time has come for me to put myself first,” Pollard said.
“I’m obviously disappointed as I’d like to have seen out my full term, having achieved so much with the support of the wonderful team within British Dressage. Last year was particularly challenging for many reasons, although it was testament to what great team work, strong partnerships and resilience can achieve – and I for one wanted to continue that momentum forward.”
Pollard said she would now focus on the immediate future and will spend time with loved ones and friends.
“I’ll still be right behind the sport supporting all the great work that goes on and no one will be cheering more loudly to celebrate our successes, but now I have to take a step back. I’d like to thank everyone for the support they’ve given to me personally over the last decade, it’s meant a lot and helped drive me to really make a difference.”
BD Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said Pollard’s departure was “a massive blow and a terribly sad announcement” for everyone involved with British Dressage.
“Penny’s energy, drive and enthusiasm have inspired the Board, staff and volunteers of BD beyond measure. She has dedicated countless hours to help shape the future of the sport, modernise our processes and instigated culture change to make us a much more professional and financially secure organisation.
“Many will have only seen Penny out and about at events, but her commitment to British Dressage has been incredible, putting in so much work behind the scenes, often at all hours. She’s helped me enormously in my role and has been a great mentor, providing tremendous support. A simple thank you isn’t enough and words really can’t express my gratitude. e will all miss Penny very much but entirely respect her decision, it’s important now that she focuses on looking after herself and spends some quality time with her family and friends.”
Arrangements are being made to enable the appointment of an interim chairperson for a 12-month period at the British Dressage Annual General Meeting in September.