‘They shall grow not old’: campaign to remember equine and human war dead

  • A Scottish horse therapy charity is to benefit from a year-long campaign launched to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

    Riders are encouraged to “do something extraordinary” to remember not just the soldiers, but also the eight million horses and ponies who died in conflict between 1914 and 1918.

    “Maybe do something with 100 in it – like 100 jumps, 100 riders doing something 100 times or 100 miles,” suggests the “We Remember Them” website.

    Launched by two friends Deane Hitchens-Orr, a former Marines officer, and Simon Wright, the nationwide campaign aims to raise funds for Horseback UK and the Royal British Legion.

    Based in Aboyne, Horseback UK runs courses to help wounded military personnel regain their confidence and self-esteem. Courses are also run for troubled teenagers and injured racing staff.

    Last year 56 people completed the charity’s three-week residential programme and another dozen teenagers attended a 15-day course.

    Since it was founded in 2009 the charity, which has 30 horses, has helped more than 500 veterans.

    “We’re hoping to encourage riding clubs and Pony Club branches to organise fundraising events in 2018 to commemorate the end of the war and help raise funds for HorseBack UK,” said co-founder Emma Hutchinson.

    Funds are needed to build new accommodation pods, buy a lorry and build a canteen and living area at the charity’s Victorian schoolhouse premises.

    Fundraising kicks off in January with a talk on 18th at Hartpury College, which has named Horseback UK as its charity of the year in 2018.

    An equine extravaganza is planned for later in the year at a venue yet to be named.

    In June the campaign organisers will be tackling a fundraising “Everesting” bike ride, which involves them continuously cycling 40 times up and down Froggatt hill in Derbyshire to reach an accumulative altitude gain of 8,848 metres.

    The year-long campaign will finish on 11 November 2018 with a remembrance ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

    More information is on the campaign’s website.

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