• Christine Keate

Award recognises dedicated support to the equestrian sector

Claire Williams, Executive Director of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), was announced as the winner of the Special Covid-19 Sir Colin Spedding Award 2021, at yesterday’s National Equine Forum (NEF) on 4th March 2021.

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.

Claire was nominated for the Award in recognition of her tireless work, at all hours, 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.

“Without Claire's support many would have suffered financial hardship and potential loss of livelihood,” read one of the nominations. “It was her tenacity and quick-thinking that helped to keep many retailers open, and the nation's horses fed and cared for.”

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Claire Williams

Over the past 21 years Claire has strived to extend BETA’s involvement in the wider equestrian industry to increase its ability to lobby on behalf of member companies and ensure the government is aware of the significant contribution made to the Nation’s economy by equestrianism. She has continued to develop additional benefits for BETA members, including the development of formal qualifications for key job roles in equestrian retailing and, the launching of the BETA NOPS and EGUS quality assurance programme for feed manufacturers. She has been particularly successful in accessing funding for companies wishing to develop export markets.

Claire said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award. I know how challenging last year proved to be for so many in our industry and so I was pleased to be able to play my part in helping members and the wider equestrian community through this difficult time. Without the support of the rest of my team I would not have been able to dedicate myself so wholeheartedly to supporting the trade and so this award should be shared with the BETA & EMC team who worked alongside me in and out of lockdown.”

Image courtesy of Time Inc


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