HRH The Princess Royal
Since 1997 Riders’ patron has been HRH The Princess Royal. As President of Save the Children Fund, she had been aware of the fundraising activities of Andrea and Barry Coleman and Randy Mamola during the 1980s.
It was at her invitation that they first visited a programme in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1988 and saw vehicles that had broken down because they had not been correctly maintained. It was this trip that proved the inspiration for what would become Riders for Health.
In September 2012, The Princess Royal visited Zambia to officially open our new programme in Southern Province. Read more here.
'Everyone who visits Africa is struck by the vast distances between towns and villages and the almost total absence of good roads; but so few people make the connection between lack of transportation and lack of development.
'There is no conventional maintenance system in rural Africa so the few motorised vehicles to be found outside the main urban centres often break down very quickly. This of course means that the services they are intended to deliver break down with them. The effect on the health of the people is devastating.
'Every year billions of dollars are committed to the war to eradicate polio, malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and other killer diseases, but without reliable transportation, there is a very serious risk that this money will simply be wasted. Without dependable vehicles how can health professionals reach villages with the equipment they need? And how can you get villagers - pregnant women in life-threatening labour, for example - into district clinics and hospitals? Unless we can answer these questions with a sound, repeatable solution, the continent of Africa will continue to suffer.
'Riders for Health, of which I am Patron, have developed exactly the solutions that are needed. The tried, tested, proven transport systems developed by Riders have already saved thousands of lives and have the potential to make a real difference throughout Africa.'
HRH The Princess Royal, 2006