George used to ride horses regularly and even won a few competitions. So when support worker Paula heard about Wiltshire & Swindon Sport's Get Out, Get Active programme and their 12-week equestrian stable experience, she knew George would love it.

Paula said: "I told her about the horse sessions and straight away she wanted to do it. It's evident that hugging, stroking and smelling the horses, or just simply being around them triggers happy memories for George. It gives her an emotional connection and puts a smile on her face."

She has always been adventurous. Her real name is Diana, but as a child she decided to adopt the same name as her favourite tomboy character from The Famous Five. As well as horse-riding, George enjoyed skiing, windsurfing, motorcycling, running and cycling. She has trekked to Everest Base Camp, hiked in Tanzania, climbed Kilimanjaro and completed the Three Peaks 24-hour challenge. She loves being outdoors, preferably with her dog by her side, and has walked the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William.

George joined the Women's Royal Army Corps and trained as a driver. She had a exemplary career, from providing fuel support during the first Gulf War to covering emergency duties during the London Ambulance strike. She was a military staff driver, covering 4,000 miles a month to transport high-ranking officers. She also drove the late Queen's baggage vehicles for state occasions - something she is immensely proud of.

At the age of just 54, George was diagnosed with an early-onset Alzheimer's. When she received her diagnosis, she bought a DVD of the film 'Iris' with Judi Dench and Kate Winslet to see what her life would be like living with Alzheimer's. She knew it was important to be prepared.

Four years on from her diagnosis, George has retained her sense of adventure. She has a supportive family, a strong network of friends and support workers, and if she does get disorientated when out with her dog, people in her village know her so they bring her back home.

'Spending time with the horses is an absolute joy for her'

Despite a deterioration in her sense of balance, she has thoroughly enjoyed the Equestrian Experience and is always excited to talk about it. The first session started with grooming the horses, cleaning their hooves and feeding them.

George then built her confidence and was able to lead a horse by its reins. Finally, she topped it all by riding a horse - she even stood up on the stirrups while it was walking along! She had a horse handler next to her providing assistance but she was clearly in her element.

George's brother Tim said: "My sister's mental functioning is inevitably getting worse, almost week by week. Her life has become restricted in ways she and the family would never have imagined when she was healthy and the life and soul of any social gathering.

"There is one thing that she still looks forward to and that is her weekly visit to the stables. Spending time with the horses now is an absolute joy for her. Although she can't ever remember, even an hour later, exactly what she did, she always leaves and remembers a great sense of pleasure. It is a wonderful thing that they do there."

Support worker Paula said: George sometimes she gets frustrated with herself and that's why I'm super proud of her for getting on that horse and just going for it, just like she used to."