Originally formed in 1983, members should have been looking forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary next year – but unfortunately that is now not going to happen.
Despite the best efforts of the most recent committee, and the backing of both Grampian & Highland Region RDA and RDA National, it was reluctantly agreed that there was no option but to close. All avenues which would have enabled the group to continue were explored.
The Office Bearers, who had been in place for a number of years, intended to stand down in 2020, but due to the unprecedented circumstances caused by the pandemic, decided to continue until the AGM in September, 2021. It was hoped that by that time, enough volunteers would be found to replace them.
Some interest was shown at the AGM, and an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) was scheduled for November. In the weeks following the EGM, the minimum requirement for three Trustees was not met – although help, support and advice was available.
It is thought that the suspension of riding during Covid-19 lockdown interrupted the momentum of the group, and possibly contributed to its final closure.
As a matter of course, the Buchan branch’s financial assets are returned to RDA National, but are ring-fenced for two years for use in Grampian & Highland Region. It is understood that this money will be made available if a new branch of RDA is formed in this north east area within that time period. In the meantime, various items of specialist equipment are to be offered to other groups within the region.
A spokesperson for Buchan RDA pointed out that its demise creates a large gap on the RDA map, with the nearest groups being Aberdeen, Gordon, Strathbogie and Moray, adding that some riders from around Ellon will actually be attending the Gordon Group, which is based near Inverurie. She added that the Buchan Group’s disappearance denies people living in the Central Buchan, Peterhead and Fraserburgh areas, who have additional support needs, access to an activity that is proven to have physical, mental and social benefits.
For riders it provided an opportunity to participate in regular exercise in an environment that was both challenging and rewarding, and helpers enjoyed making a difference, and becoming part of the wider RDA family.
“RDA has played a major part of many people’s lives in this north east corner - with riders experiencing lifelong benefits, and helpers creating lifelong friendships. It will be sorely missed by many,” she said, “and lots of tears have been shed lately.”