A RETIRED nurse aged 87-years-young had her dream fulfilled when got back on a horse.

Kings Court Care Home, in Barnard Castle, organised a horse ride at the Riding Centre for Special People in Escomb for Mary Thompson from Bishop Auckland.

The day was set up by home staff after they created a wishing tree in the hopes of making residents’ dreams come true.

Mrs Thompson became a resident at the home in 2018 after she could no longer live independently due to Alzheimer’s Disease.

She worked as a nurse at Bishop Auckland Memorial Hospital and at a children’s care home in Northallerton before retiring at age 65.

Her passion for horses grew after she fell in love with her father’s pony Peggy as a child – Mrs Thompson can recall the animal carrying milk churns up the road.

Her granddaughters Rachel Williamson and Lauren Dean watched from the sidelines with their mother Judith Dean as Mrs Thompson took the reins.

Mrs Williamson said: “It was so lovely to see her smile.

“She’s the rock of the family so when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease it was a hard time but she has always loved horses – we’re so happy she has been able to do it.

“My mam has a racehorse called Scout which we would never have been able to put her on but she goes down with carrots and sees him.

“This has been a lovely opportunity for her to ride a horse.”

Mrs Thompson rode 28-year-old Sally the cob at the riding facility.

She was picked for Mrs Thompson because of the extraordinary life she has lived.

Riding centre owner Chris Barrett-Atkin said: “Sally has had such a colourful life.

“She has ploughed in Ireland, pulled a barge in Cambridge and took a retired couple with a caravan around Europe for three years – she’s my favourite.”

The horse led Mrs Thompson around the indoor arena at the riding school.

Mrs Dean said: “I am absolutely over the moon.

“She is a lot happier and for the home to do this it’s amazing.”

Kings Court Care Home has plans to make other residents’ wishes come true in the future which include a fishing trip and a visit to the seaside.

Diane Simpson, lifestyle coordinator at the home, said: “Our jobs are about fulfilling lives and making residents as happy as possible.

"We were really happy to help with Mary’s wish.”