Royal presentation for horse world’s special Covid-19 award winner

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The Princess Royal presented Claire Williams with the National Equine Forum (NEF) Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 at Gatcombe on April 29.
The Princess Royal presented Claire Williams with the National Equine Forum (NEF) Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 at Gatcombe on April 29. © Bob Langrish

British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Executive Director Claire Williams has received this year’s National Equine Forum (NEF) Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 from Princess Anne, The Princess Royal.

Williams was formally presented with the award by The Princess Royal, who is President of the NEF, at Gatcombe Park late last month.

Given the exceptional circumstances of 2020 and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the NEF Organising Committee changed the emphasis of the Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021 to celebrate those who have gone ‘above and beyond’ during a very difficult year.

Williams was nominated for this special edition award in recognition of her tireless work to advise, support and maintain morale across the equestrian sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her efforts included analysis of Government guidelines and the development of protocols to allow feed merchants and tack shops selling feed and horse care products to trade legally and continue with essential safety services such as hat fitting.

“I feel deeply honoured, not only to have won the award but also for it to have been presented to me by HRH The Princess Royal,” Williams said.

The National Equine Forum (NEF) Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award.
The National Equine Forum (NEF) Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award. © Bob Langrish

“The past 12 months have been a challenge for the industry and I was pleased to have been able to play my part in providing support to BETA members and members of the wider equestrian community through this difficult time. This award actually belongs not just to me but to my colleagues at BETA, whose support has been invaluable.”

Williams was born and educated in New Zealand, and moved to the UK in 2000 to take up the position of Chief Executive of BETA.S he holds many directorships and memberships of organisations within the equine sector, including British Equestrian, British Horse Council, Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority and Equestrian Management Consultants Ltd.

The Sir Colin Spedding Award was introduced in 2013 in Sir Colin’s memory and is presented annually to an exceptional unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world.

It was adapted to the Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award as a one-off for 2021 and will return to its normal format in 2022.

Nominations are now being invited for the Sir Colin Spedding Award 2022. Those who know of an exceptional individual or organisation, as yet without accolade, within the equine sector, are invited to submit a nomination.

The NEF Spedding Award Committee will produce a shortlist of nominations, from which the winner will be selected by the organising committee. Multiple nominations for the same person will not carry additional merit and the decision will be final. The winner will be invited to attend the National Equine Forum, where the Award will be formally presented.

Nominations close at noon on Saturday, July 31, 2021.

 

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