14 March 2013

Q&A: Diney's fundraising ride (Diney Godfrey, re-enactor)

Diney with her horse Harold by the monument to Lord Wantage on the Ridgeway.

Diney Godfrey is a re-enactor and fundraiser for the British Red Cross. In May she'll attempt to ride from Bude (Cornwall) to Charney Bassett (Oxfordshire), visiting a number of English Civil War battle sites. Her sister and some friends will accompany her over the approximately 200 mile distance.

I asked Diney about the inspiration for the 14-day charity ride, and her hopes for the journey ...

Struan: Where did the idea for the ride come from?

Diney: After taking part in Sharpe's March I was keen to do more. I've friends in Cornwall and attend a battle re-enactment most years at Stratton, near Bude. The idea just grew.

S: Which battle sites are you planning to visit?

D: Leaving from Stamford Hill near Bude, we'll visit Torrington, Dunster, Lansdowne and Roundway Down, before finishing at the Monument to Lord Wantage, who started the Red Cross in England after the Crimean War. This is close to where I live.

S: How many miles do you intend to cover each day?

D: About 20. This is much less than historical travellers managed, but since this is the first time I have done such a distance, and my horses are not used to hills, I hope they will cope!

The Wantage Monument.

S: How precisely have you planned the route?

D: I've extensively used Ordnance Survey maps. I am also asking local people and the British Horse Society, who have their own Bridleways Officers. You need to check because sometimes paths on a map have been blocked or allowed to become impassably overgrown.

S: Tell me about your horses Fred and Harry ...

D: I bought Fred on an impulse. I liked him on first sight. He was advertised as a 'Dales type' and so far he has proved to be a very good buy. He has been my re-enacting battle horse. He is much younger than Harry but much more 'worldly wise'. He takes most things in his stride.

I bred the 16.2 h.h. bay gelding Harold. His mother was my Hunter/team chaser when I ran my own riding school. Harry did Sharpe's March and so far has done well at these long distances. He worries a lot. His daddy was an American racehorse. He reminds me of this every time I ask him to slow down!

S: Are you planning on meeting up with any other English Civil War enthusiasts/re-enactors on the way?

D: We plan to visit The Torrington Experience and spend a day at Dunster Castle, talking to the public.

S: What sparked your interest in the period?

D: I met a friend who was in the Sealed Knot at the same time as I sold my riding school (this meant that I no longer needed to work on weekends and bank holidays). I joined as a musketeer and the rest, as they say is history!


Diney plans to set off on her ride on 12 May 2013. Many thanks to her for answering my questions and the best of luck to her on the fundraising ride. Thanks also to Jane Honess for putting us in touch.

Anyone wishing to donate to Diney's campaign can find more information here.

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