THE Olympic Games Arena Team headed up by father and son Raymond and Nigel Jess of Dromara’s Mossvale Equestrian Centre was sent on its way to London recently by a delegation of wellwishers.
Among those assembled as the team set off from Sprucefield were Miss Ulster, Courtenay Fitzpatrick and Lisburn City Mayor Alderman William Leathem.
Raymond and Nigel’s team is comprised of equine enthusiasts from throughout Northern Ireland, among them Dromara’s Chris Miskimmin.
Speaking as they made ready to set off, Raymond said, “We have been preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games for over twelve months, and although we have worked at equestrian events throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe, this is definitely the biggest stage of all.
“It is a great honour, and we are certainly looking forward the challenge. The eyes of the world will be on the Olympic Games, and it will be a great experience for us all. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Also in at the send-off were Ashley Bingham of Co. Down company Botanica International Ltd - who weighed in as sponsors, providing branded clothing and a mini-bus which will be at the disposal of the 16-strong team during the Games - and Botanica distributor Donal Duggan of Duggan Veterinary Supplies.
Botanica International Ltd was founded by Sean Cooney in 2005 and manufactures a wide range of herbal skin care creams and washes for animals and humans, as well as a variety of specialist beauty skincare products.
”We are delighted to offer our financial backing to the Mossvale Arena Team,” said Mr. Cooney. “They have established a strong reputation and have attended major shows throughout the province, Great Britain, Europe and the USA and Canada.
“The Olympic Games gives the team members a huge opportunity to meet the world’s top riders, officials and other VIPs who will be attending the event. I wish them well, and I know they will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland.”
The Arena Team’s job is to ensure the smooth running of the showjumping classes, from the course-building aspect, along with dressage and other eventing competitions. The Olympic equestrian events got underway at the 183-acre Greenwich Park on Saturday (July 28).
Raymond Jess, who founded the Mossvale Arena Party in 2004 following the Belfast International Horse Show, said, “I’m a course designer myself and I know that it makes life a lot easier if you have a team of people who know what they are doing. “Our team is experienced, and its members are very good at what they do and full of passion and enthusiasm for their work.”