Shrewsbury rider desperate for help after theft from 'lifeline' vehicle

A disabled Shropshire woman who has worked with Princess Anne has seen her dreams of once more competing in carriage riding events shattered after thieves stole the catalytic converter from her 'lifeline' vehicle.

 Lucky13, who was the biggest light horse in the world, standing at just over 20 hands high.
Lucky13, who was the biggest light horse in the world, standing at just over 20 hands high.

Amanda Hughes, 63, has Fibromyalgia , causing severe pain in her legs and making walking difficult. She has a specially adapted 10-year-old Kia Sportage vehicle which she uses to visit her ponies at Upton Magna, 10 miles away

The theft happened overnight from the vehicle which was left outside the sheltered housing flat she lives at in Edgefield Green and insurers have told her the subsequent damage to the car is 'irreparable.'

Kind hearted mechanics at the Hope Initiative tried to find her a new catalytic converter to no avail and now it looks like the car will have to be written off - shortly after she spent £600 on new brake pads and other repairs.

Amanda competed at national level in equestrian until an accident in 2004 where she fell off a barn roof. Since then her movement has been severely limited but she has worked for Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) for whom Princess Anne is president.

Amanda Hughes (Background)

Two years ago Amanda gave a display of carriage riding in front of Princess Anne at the opening of the £1.3m RDA centre at Much Wenlock - she was hoping to get back into the sport with her ponies but now says without the car getting access to them will be impossible.

She said: "They need to be fed, watered and looked after every day and at the moment I can just about drive the car up there but it is severely damaged and likely to break down at any time.

"It is my lifeline and I don't know what I am going to do as I will probably get around £400 in write off value, I have about £100 in the bank and there is no other way I can get around.

"Even if I did get a new vehicle it would need to be of a certain size and would need the necessary adaptions so you are talking a lot of money which I don't have.

Finn a pony who was on loan, at Chruch Stretton show.

"The only hope I have is that someone can come up with a catalytic converter and be able to successfully fit it as I need a vehicle to look after the horses and hopefully continue competing in competitions which is what really keeps me going.

"It disgusts me that somebody could be so brazen as to just steal from someone's car from outside their house and in a close which is clearly featuring social housing for vulnerable people."

Anyone who saw or heard anything at around 1am on Tuesday morning can get in touch with the police on 101 or anyone who can help with the repair of the car or looking after the horses can contact reporters@shropshirestar.co.uk

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