An equestrian store has come to the aid of a charity volunteer who lost 18 months’ worth of savings towards riding gear after a 119-year-old retailer went bust.

Rebecca Watkinson had hoped to buy a full set of riding gear from Lester Bowden, and had ploughed £411.50 raised through a weekly paper round into an account with the retailer based in Spread Eagle Walk, Epsom.

But her hopes were dashed when the company went into administration last month – leaving her and other creditors out of pocket – and again when the store’s new owners said they would not help her.

From May: Teenage horse riding volunteer left heartbroken after losing savings as 119-year-old Epsom business Lester Bowden goes into administration

Rebecca, who volunteers at a charity that looks after horses no longer able to race, was devastated, and her father Ian came to the Epsom Guardian to tell his daughter’s story.

Epsom Guardian:

And after reading her story, Derby Arms Country Store in Epsom Downs offered to provide her with a body protector to safeguard her against heavy falls and kicks when taking care of horses.

“She was ecstatic,” Ian, a computer solutions architect from Ferriers Way, Tattenham Corner, said.

“They haven’t asked for anything.

“It’s nice to see a local business step up and help, and it’s nice to get a happy ending.”

Epsom Guardian:

A director at Stevenson’s, the company which had taken over Lester Bowden, said it had no legal obligation to reimburse the Spread Eagle Walk retailer’s creditors, and to do so would see it “spiral into bigger debts”.

John Stevenson added that the takeover had allowed schools to still be served by a local family business and 50 members of staff to keep their jobs.

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