MSP honours Aboyne man

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Deeside’s Jock Hutchison, of HorseBack UK, was invited by Dennis Robertson MSP to represent his constituency in the traditional riding ceremony at the opening of the Scottish Parliament.

Each of Parliament’s 129 MSPs nominated a local hero from their own constituency to participate in the official opening of the fourth session of The Scottish Parliament on July 1.

Mr Hutchison joined the other local heroes to walk down the Royal Mile with 1,500 prominent Scots, schoolchildren, parliamentarians, religious leaders and other guests. Mr Hutchison and his wife Emma began HorseBack UK on their Aboyne ranch to help veterans cope with injuries and acute stress from the battlefield.

Their website states that their aim is to “empower those who have shown commitment to their country to have a direct input into the recovery of fellow comrades and contribute to society once again.”

Veterans stay at the ranch for courses of one week to six months, participating in intensive horsemanship, Western riding, rural skills and adventure training.

Mr Robertson said: “I was deeply impressed by Jock’s work and I felt that his story was one that represented Aberdeenshire West well.

“The Local Heroes were chosen to reflect Scotland’s achievements and aspirations, and Jock Hutchison does just that.

“He has earned the respect of his community through tireless work and selfless service.

“Jock and HorseBack UK represent a caring, charitable Scotland with faith in the future.”