TV presenter and paralympic wheelchair basketball athlete Ade Adepitan MBE and rising music star Elle Exxe were on the the Isle of Wight this week with good reason. Elle, fresh from sold out performances in her native Scotland, London, North America and Europe was making her debut in the Big Top at the IOW Festival.
Ade is well known for his BBC and Channel 4 appearances and more recently his travel programme that has taken him around the world to places like Vietnam, Mexico and Afghanistan. The couple were making their first trip to the Isle of Wight to check out the place.
They were also the first guests at the Island Riding Centre the Island’s brand new equestrian and holiday complex. There they met some of the riding school ponies and officially opened the centre’s new fibrewax outdoor arena. The Riding Centre, which will open for lessons in July this year, aims to attract visitors and local residents all year round when it’s indoor arena is completed later this year. It will encourage riders of all abilities including those with physical limitations to participate and who knows match the recent Olympic and Paralympic successes of the GB equestrian athletes.
Ade, an ambassador and patron for charities supporting wheelchair users, children and sport was introduced to the Island Riding Centre by Jan Brooks of local charity Isle Access who themselves promote greater accessibility for visitors and residents on the Isle of Wight. Ade (who mentions us in his blog, www.adeadepitan.com) said:
‘We had a wonderful time at the Island Riding Centre. It was so cool to stay at a place that is not only beautiful but also has accessibility at the heart of its thinking. Knowing that the accommodation was created to cater for everybody, able bodied, and disabled, was a breath of fresh air. I’ve always believed that it’s not disability that holds people back, it’s lack of accessibility. So learning to ride horses in an environment free from the barriers that people with disabilities normally face in everyday life, will be a massive life changing and empowering experience’.
Ade and Elle are looking forward to returning to the Island to showcase the new accommodation, riding facilities and the Isle of Wight itself as a destination for both UK and international visitors.