Council Chairman hosts reception for Zara-Jane Kelly

2nd April 2019

Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton, recently hosted a reception for Zara-Jane Kelly at the Grange, Omagh.

Speaking at the event on 22 March 2019, Councillor Thornton said, “As Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all to the Grange this evening to this reception. I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to Zara-Jane in whose honour this evening is being hosted.

I would also like to welcome members of Zara-Jane’s family who have also joined us this evening at the Grange for this very special event.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council takes great pride in its sons and daughters who bring distinction to the district and this reception gives me, as Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, the opportunity to publicly acknowledge your tremendous success at the prestigious and world-renowned Olympia London International Horse Show in December.

I understand that you have been riding since you were just six years old with Fintona based RD Equestrian Pony Club Centre, showing a natural talent for the sport from the beginning.

This natural ability was harnessed by your trainer and Pony Club DC Roisin Donnelly, who has supported you and your Roan mare Robin to progress from jumping 60cm classes at local shows to competing in the National Premier Under 10s and jumping on the Irish Under 10s Pony Team in Scotland, bringing home a gold medal – a tremendous achievement in itself.

However, more was yet to come when in June 2018 you qualified at the Pony Club Area Showjumping in the Meadows Equestrian Centre, Lurgan for the Pony Club Mini Major Class at the world-renowned London International Horse Show at the Olympia in December 2018.

I understand just 8 children from the whole of the UK are selected each year through a competitive process to take part in this class and the fact that you were 1 of those 8 is most commendable.

The Pony Club Mini Major Class at the London International Horse Show saw you and your pony Robin paired with Irish International Showjumper, Shane Breen and his horse for the popular relay race.

I trust that this was a truly exciting and memorable experience for you, having the opportunity to compete at such a prestigious event alongside a top international showjumper.

You and Shane appeared to make quite the team by being placed third overall in the competition. This is a remarkable achievement and one of which you should be very proud.

Zara-Jane, you have shown great commitment and dedication having achieved so much in four short years. Of course, your success would not have been possible without the continued support from your trainer, Roisin Donnelly, your riding club RD Equestrian Pony Club and of course your family, all of whom I am sure are very proud of what you have achieved to date.

Zara-Jane, you are a wonderful ambassador for your family, your riding club and your district and on behalf of the Council may I congratulate you on your success so far and wish you every success for the future.”