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‘I can’t believe you’re getting your baps out!’ Rider plans Lady Godiva challenge to boost mental health

A rider who wanted to see out her 20s in style is to channel Lady Godiva by riding through her home town of Ludlow wearing nothing but a smile.

Grace Oakley, 29, is to take on the challenge on her Irish draught mare Ug in memory of her mother, who took her own life when Grace was 12, and to raise money for suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

“After the year we’ve all had — I know someone who took his own life a few weeks ago, and I know others who have really struggled with the lockdowns — I wanted to do something, and I thought ‘sod it’,” she told H&H.

“If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it properly; I don’t think anyone would sponsor me for riding through Ludlow in a Barney the dinosaur costume.

“I’ve never done anything like this; I have done a fun ride before, but that was fully clothed!”

Grace said her hair is hip-length, which will provide some coverage, as was the case for Lady Godiva herself.

“I’ll put some hair extensions in too to make it thicker, in case it’s a breezy day!” she said. “I’ve spoken to the police and I will have some cover so if anyone complains, I can say it’s not actually on show.”

Grace said her 10-year-old mare, officially Indigo Sugar Babe, is a “saint” on the roads, so she has no concerns on that front, although she will wait until summer to take on her challenge, in hopes of better weather.

She has already raised nearly £300, most of this on her Gofundme page.

“I’d like to raise a couple of thousand,” she said. “My mum was 36 when she died, and she was someone you never would have thought would do that, but you just don’t know what’s going on for people, and I know how devastating it is for the people left behind.

“I’m doing it for her, and to help anyone else who’s having a crap time, and if nothing else, it will make people laugh.”

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Grace said she has had support from family and friends.

“My best friend Phil’s taking me on the day,” she said. “I said to him: ‘You do know you’ll have to give me a leg up, don’t you?’ as I’m doing it bareback too. He’s gay, and he said he doesn’t like touching me fully clothed, let alone with nothing on!

“My daughter Olivia, who’s nine, said ‘I can’t believe you’re getting your baps out; what will Ug think?’ I said you know what she’s like, she won’t care.”

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