Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials volunteer receives prestigious award

P Hayhurst and D Holmes
Paul Hayhurst and D Holmes

Paul Hayhurst received the accolade of British Eventing Volunteer of the Year from British Eventing’s Chief Executive David Holmes in the Bladon Arena at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials on Sunday 20th September.

Paul, who is a full-time lorry driver and lives in Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos, has starred in a variety of Volunteer roles at every Blenheim Palace Horse Trial in the past five years. Recently he has run the Bladon Arena along with Gail Ambrose. This arena hosts a range of Blenheim’s popular amateur eventing competitions throughout the event. In addition, this year Paul has been running the new Lince Arena, which was home to some of the new classes for 2015.

Explaining how he started volunteering, Paul said: “I started to follow eventing through an ex, but when we split up I realised I really wanted to stay involved in the sport, so I got introduced to Gail Ambrose whose passion for volunteering is infectious – and I haven’t looked back since.”

In addition to Blenheim Palace, he also is a scorer at Calmsden Horse Trials and all of the Aston-le-Walls fixtures. He acts as starter at Broadway as well helping generally at Solihull Horse Trials and Gatcombe.

“I just really enjoy the camaraderie amongst the scorers and volunteers and really enjoy going to the great venues we have around the country,” added Paul.

Course-builder and designer Dave Thompson, who nominated Paul for this award, said: “Paul is a stalwart volunteer in our sport.  He attends more than 20 events each year and turns his hand to every aspect of volunteering, from scoring to the start team and control team, and stewarding.

“What impresses me about Paul is that he is always so enthusiastic about every role he undertakes, and he always has a smile on his face.  His experience allows BE officials to trust him absolutely and know that he will always give 110% to ensure the smooth running of the event.”

Mandy Hervieu, Event Director of Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, said: “He will take on any job you ask in the most calm, organised and efficient fashion. He is an extremely kind person and so supportive of the people he works for. I am so pleased to see him get this recognition.”

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