Starlight Children’s Foundation, the official charity partner of the 2010 London International Horse Show at Olympia, brought Christmas early to six deserving and horse-mad children earlier this month.

One of these was 12-year-old Alec Martin, from Rochester in Kent (pictured top right with Cian O’Connor).

Alec was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a serious form of bone cancer, in December 2009 and has since undergone intensive chemotherapy and surgery to battle the life threatening condition.

His big love in life is horses and, before his illness was discovered, he was learning to ride at a local stables.

He had to give up due to the tumour in his leg but his aim is to ride again.

Starlight took Alec, his parents and brother Patrick to the show on 16 December and there were a few surprises in store for the young rider.

First, he joined showjumpers walking the course for the Shelley Ashman International Ltd, EM Rogers (Transport) Ltd Welcome Stakes, and then got to present the rosette to the winner, Cian O’Connor, and his ride Umberto.

Alex was also invited backstage to meet the four-legged stars of the show and went into the paddock for The Shetland Grand National.

Alec said: “Presenting the rosette was absolutely the best bit of the day. Days like the one that Starlight gave me to today make me really happy — thank you so much Starlight.”

Starlight Children’s Foundation is a charity that seeks to improve the lives of seriously and terminally ill children with theatre trips, games, toys, puzzles and by granting once-in-a-lifetime wishes.