The British Horse Society is delighted that its long-standing volunteer, Catriona Cook, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year.
A volunteer for the Access and Rights of Way department since the 1980s and Regional Access and Bridleways Officer for Yorkshire since 1995, Catriona is being awarded an MBE for her work to increase off-road riding for equestrians in the UK.
Her citation in the honours list reads ‘Mrs Catriona Susan Addie Cook. Rights of Way Campaigner. For voluntary service to the Environment in the UK. (Scarborough, North Yorkshire)’.
Catriona has worked tirelessly to increase the number of definitive rights of way available to equestrians and has helped to add more than 100 miles of byways and bridleways to the Definitive Map.
She has also organised two 'Journey for Access' rides, the most recent in 2006, where she led a group of riders on long-distance rides throughout the country to raise awareness of equestrian access issues. The two rides have raised £13,000 in total for rights of way work.
With her family, Catriona runs a 330 acre dairy farm in Yorkshire. There are footpaths, bridleways and an unsurfaced road over the farm, all of which are well-used by walkers, riders and motor vehicle drivers who are openly welcomed. She is able to empathise with the difficulties other landowners encounter but is actively practising what she preaches.
One of the many bridleways Catriona has successfully had added to the definitive map goes across the farm and she is also in the process of upgrading one of its footpaths to a bridleway to provide a useful off-road link and has widely supported, at various times, other organisations such as the Byways and Bridleways Trust, the National Park Authority and local groups providing liaison between landowners and path users.