2,000 riders to take part in Help For Heroes fund-raiser

  • More than 2,000 riders plan to converge on Windsor Great Park in a major fund-raiser for Forces charity Help For Heroes.

    The riders will complete an eight-mile round route from Ascot racecourse through the park on 10 July 2010.

    Racing broadcaster and former jockey Brough Scott, whose son Jim has served in Iraq, will officially launch the event, which organisers hope will raise more than £1million, on Friday, 25 September.

    Mr Scott said: “It will be a totally unique experience involving people across the country and the riding world.

    “We hope that young and old, leisure riders and dressage riders, show jumpers, eventers, mounted police and military, will all take part.”

    And he hinted that places will be set aside for very high-profile “local” riders.

    The 2,010 participants will be expected to raise at least £500 for the charity and a campsite and stabling are planned at Ascot.

    A 2,000-person ride at Windsor was planned by the British Horse Society in 2007 to celebrate its 60th anniversary, but the event was cancelled due to safety concerns (news, 17 May 2007).

    But Ascot racecourse spokesman Nick Smith anticipates no such problems this time.

    “We will be relying on volunteers and goodwill,” he said. “The entire ride will take place on Crown land for which we already have permission.”

    The HPower Group, organiser of the Windsor Horse Show and military tattoo and the recent European Championships, is also involved.

    HPower managing director Simon Brooks-Ward, who is a colonel in the Territorial Army, said: “We would like to mirror rugby’s highly successful Help for Heroes event at Twickenham last year and get the whole sporting community behind the armed services.”

    Help for Heroes was set up in October 2007 by cartoonist and former soldier Bryn Parry to raise money for the rehabilitation of service personnel injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The charity’s latest venture is creating army recovery centres across the UK to provide a launchpad for those seriously wounded or long-term sick soldiers who must make the transition to civilian life.

    Riders will be able to sign up at www.horses4heroes.co.uk from next week.

    Will 2,010 riders sign up? Contact our letters page at hhletters@ipcmedia.com

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (17 September, ’09)

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