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Nearly 2,000 people who have signed up to the Horses for Heroes fund-raising ride in July need to pay an extra £75 to take part.

Organisers of the event, around Windsor Great Park and Ascot Racecourse, have been forced to revise the fee to cover running costs and to maximise fund-raising by incorporating extra revenue from Gift Aid.

But this means 1,801 people, who have already paid the initial registration fee of £100, are required to pay an extra £75 by 31 March, to cover costs such as admin, first aid and vets.

Organiser HPower says it understands the difficulties registered riders face.

“We appreciate £175 is a lot, but compared to the cost per head to run other charity events, it’s relatively low,” said HPower’s Kelly Smith. “We are being completely transparent — we’re not out to make money from the event.”

Charles Barnett, chairman of Ascot, added: “This is the first time we’ve run anything like this so we’re determined to ensure the charity benefits as much as possible.”

But the fee-change has triggered some complaints.

“If at the beginning they had said you need to pay £175 and raise £400 to ride 7.5miles, I doubt I would have signed up,” said Ellen Walker of Hereford.

And H&H forum member JudyP has said she will be asking for her £100 registration fee back which she will then donate to Help for Heroes.

Ms Smith confirmed there had been “a few” requests for refunds but they were happy to return any money. She added that they were still looking for sponsors for the event.

She stressed that once the fee has been paid all money will go directly to Help For Heroes and should be paid through JustGiving.com to enable eligibility for Gift Aid tax relief.

Gift Aid can add an extra 28% to all donations. Riders are being encouraged to raise £500, but there is no minimum.

The ride, on 10 July, hopes to raise £1m for Help for Heroes.

Places are still available for the ride, which is being supported by celebrities including Ellen Whitaker, Katie Price and Jeremy Kyle.

Jeremy Kyle, whose wife Carla will be riding, said: “I’ll be there to cheer her on and to witness what is sure to be a unique event.”

For more information visit: www.horses4heroes.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (18 February, ’10)