A RECORD-BREAKING woman who has been riding a horse from one Olympic Games to another for four years has seen her Greenwich welcome party shattered.

Megan Lewis has faced deserts, mountains, broken ribs and knackered horses in her 8,000 mile charity trek spanning 13 countries from Beijing to London.

But as she approaches her final destination she is saddled with a huge problem.

After dreaming of a welcome party at Shooters Hill's equestrian resource centre, she has been refused entry by Greenwich Council on health and safety grounds as the site is still being built.

She will however be welcomed by Bexley and Bromley councils on her way to Greenwich as she visits Orpington's Chelsfield Equestrian Centre and Bexley's Mount Mascal Stables ahead of the Olympic torch relay celebrations.

The 63-year-old said: "It is almost a bit of an anti-climax.

"A party would have made you feel you had done something.

"In the long run it doesn’t make any difference but at the time it makes you feel you have achieved something.

"We haven’t been able to find another venue.

"I am not particularly excited at the moment because there is just so much organisation to do."

The Welsh pony breeder mounted the challenge for charity Challenge Aid - formerly Schoolchildren for Children - which raises money for disadvantaged children and is run by her husband.

The endurance rider says she believes she is the first to horse-ride the Great Wall of China and to ride Eurasia from coast to coast.

She said: "I have had various setbacks - I broke six ribs and punctured a lung in the first week which set me back.

"But you just keep on - head down and keep going."

Ms Lewis said: "We lost one or two horses but it was nothing to do with the ride - it was bad luck during the rest period."

She stressed that most of the horses used were thin to start and ended up in good shape during the ride.

Ms Lewis, who is now searching for a new party venue, aims to reach Greenwich on July 23.

Her arrival in London is being organised by Hoof - an Olympic legacy project set up by the British Equestrian Federation.

Spokeswoman Anna Bruce said: "We first asked Greenwich Council in January/February.

"They gave a provisional 'yes' if secure enough but always warned us it might not be ready and confirmed that a few days ago.

"But it is really the only place. It is there or nowhere.

"Greenwich Council has been very helpful and has suggested other places."

A Greenwich Council spokeswoman said: "The Royal Borough of Greenwich supports this worthy initiative and would like to congratulate the riders for all they've achieved so far.

"We hope they successfully find a suitable venue to celebrate their impressive acheivements and we have offered what practical advice we can to help them achieve this aim.

"The Equestrian Centre simply isn't a feasible option as it's currently under construction and given the short notice of their approach to us, we're doing what we can to help find a suitable alternative."


Oct 2008 - The great trek begins from the Great Wall.

Oct 2008 - Megan falls off breaking ribs and puncturing a lung - three month delay

April - Oct 2010 - Rides across Gobi desert and into the snowcapped mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

March - Nov 2011 - Crosses the desert flats of Kazakhstan and barters for a horse at a meat market - saving it from being made into sausages.

Jan - July 2012 - Rides new horse through Bulgaria,  Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, France and UK

20 July - Plans to stay at Chelsfield Equestrian Centre in Bromley

21 July - Overnight at Mount Mascal Stables in Bexley

22 July - Torch relay in Bexley

23 July - Proposed finish in Greenwich