Every spring, hundreds of riders, horses and ponies gather on the North Downs in Kent to take part in a ten-mile cross-country ride across this beautiful rural area. It is known to those who take part as the Wye Ride, named after the nearby village of Wye.
The Wye Ride was one of the highlights of Megan’s year. She took part every year, loving, as do many others, the chance to leave the confinements of winter behind and glory in the freedom and exhilaration of galloping across the downland hills. The land is kindly opened up for the occasion by local landowners.
The year after Megan died, one of the course builders decided to create a jump on the course in memory of Megan. High on the Downs, close to the ancient little church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin in Crundale, a large solid wooden picnic table was built, complete with two chairs, one at each end. The table was adorned with plates, knives and forks, even salt and pepper. Dave Duckworth, the course builder, said that, when he stood on that spot, gazing down into the remote and beautiful Crundale Valley. he thought of Megan who loved this place so much.
We, as a family, adopted Megan’s Table, as it is known, and have used it as a real if outsize picnic table on her birthday in July. But its main purpose is to provide a challenging jump for Wye Ride participants. The Table is large and, for many horses and ponies, a rather strange and daunting obstacle. The Wye Ride is a fun event, not competitive, and many riders chose to go for a smaller jump built alongside. Riders who do jump it feel a sense of achievement.
This year the sight of one very special young horse taking Megan’s jump for the first time brought tears to my eyes. Levi is a Morgan horse, seven years old, bought by Megan about a year or so before she died. She could see something very special in this small handsome colt and planned to do great things with him. Now Levi has formed a successful partnership with another young woman. They had never attempted Megan’s Table before. As they approached the jump we all held our breath – me, Toby, Megan’s husband, and her sister Morag. Levi took the jump in style, looking superb.
The rush of emotion that came over me took me by surprise. I have tears in my eyes, I told Toby. So do I, he said.
This is the poem written by Megan which was the inspiration behind the jump and which was placed on display at the starting area of the Wye Ride.
A CURATOR OF ANGELS
Some people build cathedrals
Great towers of stone, reaching out to Heaven
And when they sing in praise or prayer
Their notes drift and float on sanctified air.
I used to climb up onto the roof
And look into the sky
For when my feet were off the ground
I could see life in sharper focus and with a wiser eye.
And I have ridden on some mighty shoulders
And felt them lift me to something close to grace
And stood beside the ocean
And sought understanding on a wide blue horizon.
But the Angel sent to watch me
Did not come from the sky or rise out of the sea.
My Angel spoke to me in the fields and on the hillside.
And it is on these green pastures beside these still waters
In delivering safely to their eternity the souls that are mine to protect,
Here is my faith, here is my mission,
Here I find God.