Hannah Francis’s Willberry Wonder Pony charity was among the winners at last night’s Animal Health Trust (AHT) UK Equestrian Awards 2016.

“I have to say a big thank you to everyone who has got behind her charity and who helped her achieve so much of her bucket list,” said Hannah’s father James as he received the SEIB Insurance Brokers voluntary service award alongside Hannah’s mother Rachel.

Hannah was a teenage event rider who died in August this year aged 18 from bone cancer. She inspired thousands with her blog written from the point of view of soft toy Willberry Wonder Pony.

The charity in his name raises funds for bone cancer research and to grant equine wishes to seriously ill people.

Hannah’s parents will also be accepting the inspiration of the year award on behalf of their daughter at the inaugural H&H Awards next Thursday (3 November).

The other winners last night included Olympic champion Nick Skelton, who took the British Showjumping award.

“I’m overwhelmed by all the accolades and videos,” he said. “It’s been a remarkable year.

“I’m very grateful for what happened. I don’t think I could have done it without Big Star and everyone around him. I’ve been lucky through my career with great horses and great people.

“It’s great for the sport and I hope we can make something of this. I want to thank the AHT.”

Dressage rider Rebecca Edwards, the only British young rider to make it to the freestyle at the European Championships this year, won the Chris Potter Country Sports under 25’s star of the future award.


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She was at the event at the Dorchester Hotel, London, with her parents and boyfriend.

“I wouldn’t be here without all my support team and thank you to the AHT for this incredible evening and the award,” she said.

AHT award winners 2016

  • Bet Solutions International racing award: Jim Crowley
  • Harvey Spack Field dressage award: Olympic dressage and Paralympic dressage teams
  • Eventing award: William Fox-Pitt
  • Chris Potter Country Sports under 25’s star of the future award: Rebecca Edwards
  • British Showjumping award: Nick Skelton
  • Balta veterinary achievement award: John McEwen
  • SEIB Insurance Brokers voluntary service award: Willberry Wonder Pony
  • Tapi Carpets & Floors and the Animal Health Trust special award: Pete Brady