A Moray horse-riding enthusiast who has worked ensure all youngsters are able to sample life in the saddle has been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
Kirsteen Mitcalfe grew up with a passion for equestrianism – but her days of taking part were cruelly cut short when she broke her back after falling from a horse as a teenager.
However, she never lost her admiration for the animals and instead pioneered Riding for the Disabled classes which allow children with additional needs to take lessons.
She helped establish the group in Forres, and spent 40 years overseeing sessions.
Mrs Mitcalfe, 80, only stopped lending a hand after a hip operation in recent years.
But she still drives children back and forth to lessons at the Burgie Riding Centre every week.
And her dedication has now been rewarded, with the announcement that she has been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE).
The modest pensioner was “flabbergasted” when she learned about the honour.
Mrs Mitcalfe said: “There are a huge amount of volunteers carrying out work in Moray, and I just do it because it’s needed.
“I don’t know why I have been picked out, I’m absolutely flabbergasted.”
Mrs Mitcalfe grew up near Hopeman, and is married to Hugh Mitcalfe – who worked as a marketing manager with Macallan-Glenlivet.
The selfless volunteer helped start the Highland Hospice group in Forres, and has been involved with the town’s Meals on Wheels scheme for decades.
The former deputy lieutenant to the lord lieutenant of Moray has recently ploughed her efforts into a project aimed at highlighting the history of Kinloss Abbey.