PRINCESS ANNE made her name as a horsewoman.
But one of the lesser known Royal mounts is now back in the spotlight in Huddersfield.
A beautiful carved rocking horse, presented to the Princess Royal 25 years ago, has now been handed to the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Brackenhall.
It was donated by Honley woman Mrs Shirley Heaton who won the horse in a huge charity raffle back in 1986.
Now it will be used by children having treatment at the Brackenhall hospice and may in the future be auctioned off to provide much-needed funds.
Either way, Mrs Heaton is delighted.
“We have had 25 wonderful years of the horse and I could not be happier that it has gone to such a good cause,’’ she said.
Mrs Heaton and her late husband, Tom, ran TV and radio shops for many years in Honley and Holmfirth and won the horse in 1986.
She added: “My grandchildren and the children of our shop staff enjoyed it so many times and I have a letter from Princess Anne who is also happy it is helping a good cause.”
They were invited as special guests to the Pye TV Awards at London’s Hilton Hotel and found themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of EastEnders stars Den and Angie Watts.
Mrs Heaton added: “The event was hosted by newsreader Jan Leeming and Princess Anne was there.
“Pye had commissioned woodcarver Roy Gardiner to make the horse for the princess at a cost of £1,000 and she was delighted.
“She announced she would raffle it off to raise money for Riding for the Disabled, of which she was a patron.
“Tom usually bought several raffle tickets for good causes but that night he bought just one, which cost £5.
“Jan Leeming made the draw and we were delighted to win and to have the prize presented to us by the princess.”
The horse was brought back to Huddersfield and had pride of place in the Heaton shops for many years.
It was later taken to the Heaton’s home but after Mr Heaton’s death in 2009 Mrs Heaton moved to a smaller home in Honley and finally decided to pass it on.
A spokesman for the hospice said: “We were delighted to accept such a wonderful gift.
“We plan to let the children use it for the time being, but we may then auction it or raffle it to help with our fundraising.
“We are so grateful to Mrs Heaton.”