A Lancashire family — and their pony — had a narrow escape when fire engulfed their lorry on the M62 motorway on Saturday evening (7 September).

Chorley-based Vincent and Cathy Mulready, and their 10-year-old daughter Pippa, were en-route to the British Riding Clubs national championships at Lincoln when they smelled smoke in the cab.

“We managed to pull over into a rest area and just as we did, flames started coming up through the floor,” said Cathy. “We rushed round and managed to get the ramp down — by now, the whole front was on fire. We managed to get the pony out and no sooner had we done this than the whole thing suddenly went up in flames. We lost everything.

“Thank goodness we only had 1 pony on board because there wouldn’t have been enough time to get 2 out.”

Luckily, a fellow Longton Riding Club member was following behind and was able to pick up the stranded family. And, within 10min of an appeal being put out over the PA after their arrival at Lincoln, piles of clothing, bedding, feed, tack, equipment — and even a tent — had been donated to the family.

“I can’t begin to express how grateful we are to these people,” said an emotional Cathy. “I have no idea who most of them were.”

There was another positive outcome too… Pippa insisted on competing and jumped a classic double clear with her 11-year-old Solloway Red Rose to help Longton to 7th place in the intermediate team showjumping competition.

Full report from British Riding Clubs championship in H&H magazine on Thursday 19 September.