The memory of young show jumper Emma Easton lives on through a memorial fund for her local air ambulance

The parents of a young show jumper, who died following a freak riding accident earlier this year, have donated £16,000 to their local air ambulance, which fought to save their daughter’s life.

Emma Easton, 18, from Aylsham in Norfolk, had just finished schooling her seven-year-old 16.2hh grey mare, Felbricks Emma’sOakley, in a sand school when the accident occurred earlier this year.

“Oakley must have spooked at something,” says Emma’s mother, Jenny Easton. “Emma lost her balance and hit her head when she fell. She was wearing a hat but it didn’t save her. It was just a freak accident.”

Following their daughter’s tragic death, Emma’s parents set up the Emma Easton Memorial Fund to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service, which is totally self-funding.

Memorial jumping show

They also organised the Emma Easton Memorial show jumping show, which took place on 19 May and included a qualifier for the Emma Easton Memorial Trophy 1.10m show jumping series.

Emma had just started jumping 1.10m classes with Oakley when the accident happened, so it seemed fitting for her memorial show jumping series to be at this height,” says Jenny.

The final will be contested at Aylsham Show on 26 August with the winner receiving £200 and the Emma Easton Memorial Trophy.

Horses competing at the final will include Oakley, who has qualified with family friend Lorna Crook, who took over the ride following Emma’s accident.

“Emma wasgoing to take a year out to go travelling in September,” explains Jenny, “and she had planned for Lorna to ride Oakley while she was away. We are absolutely delighted that Lorna has qualified for the final.

The memorial show was aterrific success,” continued Jenny, “and raised £3,500. All the classes were full and many people had travelled from north and south to be there. A huge number of spectators came along, including many of Emma’s friends.”

Unique rescue service

The air ambulance, including some of the crew who treated Emma, flew in to the event and were presented with a cheque for £16,215, which will cover the cost of the helicopter’s defribillator.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance does not receive any government or lottery funding,” explains air ambulance fundraising manager, Brian Cave.

We rely solely on donations to keep the service going. We need to raise around £750,000 everyyear, so the support of the Emma Easton Memorial Fund is really appreciated.”

Launched in January 2001, the East Anglian air ambulance service has been operating a seven-day service for around 10 months, with an increasing number of callsinvolving riders.

“There has been a steady increase in the number of horse-related emergency calls since the service began,” Brain continues. “With many riding accidents occurring in places which are difficult to reach with a conventional ambulance, the air ambulance is providing a vital service to the East Anglian equestrian community.”

Help the fund

Having already raised a substantial sum for the air ambulance, Jenny is planning to continue adding to Emma’s memorial fund.

“A ‘pro/am’ charity golf day is being organised for October, which we hope will raise around £3,000 for the fund,” says Jenny. “I believe the air ambulance is an exceptionally worthwhile cause which deserves our continued support.”

To make a donation to the fund, send a cheque made payable to ‘The Emma Easton Memorial Fund’ to Ivy Cottage, 12 High Street, Marsham, Norfolk, NR10 5AE.

To find out more about theEast Anglian Air Ambulance visit www.eastanglianambulance.com

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