Charitable horse lovers take on London Marathon

  • Riders up and down the country will be running the London Marathon next month for equestrian charities and good causes.

    Among those tackling the 26.2-mile race on 24 April are Lizzy Phillips and Jeannine Williamson, who are raising funds for equine welfare charity The Brooke.

    For Reading-based horse lover Lizzy this will be her first marathon.

    “My mum an I have supported the Brooke for years,” said Lizzy, who owns two horses, Jimmy and Sabre.

    “I think people forget that in developing countries there are working horses as well as people who need help. These animals often support people’s lives too.”

    Jeannine from Eastbourne has completed two marathons for the Brooke in the past — London Marathon in 2011 and Brighton Marathon in 2015.

    She has raised more than £28,000 for the charity and is hoping to gain lots of sponsorship this year.

    “My grandfather was a cavalry officer who was killed in the First World War and had a deep affinity with his horses,” she said. “Combined with my own life-long love of horses, and the pioneering work by Dorothy Brooke to help the forgotten war horses, the work of the Brooke has always been very close to my heart.

    “I have witnessed the work of the Brooke first hand and know what a difference the charity has made to the desperate conditions of working equines across the world.”

    Meanwhile, several runners will be attempting the marathon in aid of World Horse Welfare.

    The team includes Chelmsford- based Matthew Carlick, Maidstone-based Zara Harrison, who is running with her mother Sarah Thompson, and Laura Williamson and Dale Witheridge.

    Horse lover Katie Jones, who loans a hackney cross thoroughbred, and her partner Alex Jenner will be taking on the challenge to raise funds for the Riding for the Disabled Association.

    Rider Georgie Armstrong will be running the marathon for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

    “The Air Ambulance is something really close to my heart,” she told H&H. “I had an accident out hunting four years ago where I broke my back and pelvis — the air ambulance were absolutely amazing.

    “Then two years later my mother had a fall out hunting and was paralysed down one side for six months — yet again the air ambulance were incredible and without them and their fast response my mother may never have walked again.”

    West Essex Saddlery manager Kym Jones is running the marathon in aid of Isabel Hospice. The shop is holding an equine osteopathy talk and raffle on 9 April to help raise money for the cause.

    Eight runners, Thomas Eyles, Emma Larminie, Eleanor Martin, Rachael Ward, Sophie Dale, Penny Middleton Burn, Mark Simpson and Phoebe Taylor, will be raising funds for the Countryside Alliance.

    Vet Patrick Sells will be running for SPANA. He volunteered as a vet with SPANA in 2007 when he motorcycled from the UK to Marrakech and raised around £10,000 for the charity.

    Paul Gardner will be taking part for the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund. He was inspired to run for the charity after a good friend had a bad fall and was in a coma for two months. She came through the coma but was left severely brain damaged.

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    She was cared for in a nursing home for several years and was finally able to return home with the support of carer. She died last year.

    “I would like to raise money for the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund to help others in such a situation receive the best treatment and care possible,” he said.

    Meanwhile Racing Welfare has 14 people from in and around the racing industry taking part for the organisation.

    The Donkey Sanctuary has six people running: Dr Ant Cotton, Sam Toothill, Andy Messenger, Naomi Kinsman, Gemma Thickett and Rebecca Reynolds.

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