'The making of a Hollywood film': how Teddington stables were saved

  Posted: 19.02.21 at 12:36 by Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

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Gavin and Stacey star Rob Brydon has congratulated staff and volunteers at a local stables that helps young people with disabilities in Teddington for raising more than £1 million to save itself from closure.

The actor and comedian told BBC Breakfast this morning that the incredible story had the “making of a Hollywood film.”

“I just want to send them my congratulations, all my best wishes, because they pulled off the impossible,” he said.

Park Lane Stables was facing closure because the landlord was planning on selling the land.

The only way it would be able to save itself was to raise £1 million, so it could buy the land from the landlord and keep the stables open.

Staff and volunteers made a plea on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, and within hours had managed to raise half a million pounds, taking them to their target.

A pony spreading some cheer during lockdown

Mr Brydon said he first came across the stables during his lockdown walks to nearby Bushy Park.

“I heard this story of what was happening and the trouble they were in and it just struck me as such a terrible shame”, he said.

“When I heard about the good work that it was doing for all sorts of people it just seemed, with the pandemic and everything, it just seemed like ‘now there is something else,’ you know, it just seemed wrong.”

He added: “In all honestly I didn’t really think that we’d get to this figure, but I thought it was a noble thing to try and do, so when I heard yesterday I was just bowled over. It’s such a wonderful good news story.”

Stable manage Nat O’Rourke revealed she was applying for a bank loan just hours before the money came in because she was so desperate to keep the stables open.

The stables featured on the BBC. Credit Fiona Lamdin

“We can rip that up and move on,” she told BBC Breakfast.

“I’m just so overwhelmed. I can’t really put it into words.

“It’s just like we had nothing. We’ve always got nothing and very few people believed in us. I can’t believe it that we’ve made it. And we’ve still got a few days to spare.”

Stacey Mills is a regular at the stables.

Her son Dominic has cerebal palsy, and it is the only place that means he can exercise in his wheelchair.

She said: “We just didn’t expect that reaction. When it got closer and closer we screamed every £10,000. It was just amazing. And then I cried. Because it was just so huge.

“I thought, Dominic, your life is no longer locked down.”

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