A disabled woman from Somerset has reached the winning post in her sights in her quest to walk and row the combined length of Britain’s racecourses to raise money for charity.
Jayne Dowling of Frome, who has restricted growth and scoliosis – a condition that causes curvature of the spine – has statically walked and rowed 88 miles, the equivalent length of 60 racecourses.
A staunch horse-racing enthusiast, Jayne has been encouraged and supported in her efforts by her friend and leading racehorse owner, Jim Lewis (pictured with Jayne above).
Jim Lewis, who owned triple Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate, said: “I first met Jayne at Wincanton Racecourse where I discovered that she was having a long-term love affair with one of my horses, Edredon Bleu.
“She and I have become firm friends and I will always do what I can to support her.
“In a reciprocal way, Jayne has put a lot of effort into raising money for my chosen charity, St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester. She is very committed to her fund-raising and with her enthusiasm and wonderful outlook on life, you can’t help but climb on board,” said Jim Lewis.
Jayne began her 88 mile quest at Frome Leisure Centre in September, allowing herself just 10 weeks to cross the finishing line.
Despite recent set-backs caused by a chest infection, Jayne met her deadline on Sunday (25 November) by completing her final course, Cheltenham – Jayne’s tribute to Best Mate.
“I have been passionate about horseracing since I was a child and I remember asking my grandfather to use my pocket money to place bets for me at the bookies,” said Jayne, who works as a secretary at South West law firm Withy King.
“Over the years, through my regular attendance at race meetings, I’ve become close to Jim Lewis and his family, and felt I wanted to do something to raise money for St Richard’s Hospice, one of the charities closest to Jim’s heart. I also wanted to support the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre which does such a wonderful job in re-habilitating and fostering-out ex-racehorses.”
Jayne, 38, ihopes to raise at least £2,000 in sponsorship, which she will divide between her St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester which has Jim Lewis as its Patron, and the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre in Lancashire.
Anyone interested in supporting Jayne’s two chosen charities, is asked to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.