IT was the day two docs came face to face.

Martin Clunes, who stars as TV’s Doc Martin, met a horse called Doc when he visited the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy (FCRT) in the New Forest.

The popular actor dropped in to the Bransgore centre to receive donations totalling more than £850 from the Rotary Club of Christchurch and the New Milton Friends Group.

Martin, a horse enthusiast, took along a couple of friends – his two enormous Clydesdale horses Ronnie and Bruce – to meet students at the Avon Tyrrell-based centre, where he met many of the organisation’s 28 horses, including the aptly named Doc.

Earlier this year, Martin became patron of the FCRT, which gives horse-motivated students with special needs the opportunity to learn to relate more successfully to others and to have greater control over their lives.

Founded in 1976, the centre helps its students to learn and develop through working with horses.

He said: “When I found out about the work of the centre I was incredibly impressed and blown away by what they do.

“I was delighted when I was asked to become a patron and I hope to do all I can to help raise the profile of the organisation and keep the money coming in.”

The Rotary Club of Christchurch raised £218 through a swimathon and the New Milton Friends Group donated £637, the proceeds of a number of events.

Chairman of the New Milton Friends Group, Ron Loveless, said: “We raise between £5,000 and £10,000 every year and are keen to give money to local charities.

“We have been so impressed by the therapy which is carried out here – I’m sure this will not be the last time we give them money.”

There are currently 30 students between the ages of 18 and 25 undertaking residential three-year courses at FCRT.

The centre has recently been approved under Section 41 of the Children and Families Act as a specialist independent provider.

For more details about the centre, how you can get involved or to donate, visit the website