Miniature Shetland dementia ambassador stars in charity Christmas card

  • A miniature Shetland who works as an ambassador for a dementia charity is starring in a Christmas card in hopes of adding to the thousands of pounds he has raised.

    Ali Stearn’s painting of Jack Brock with Father Christmas is raising money for Dementia UK, to add to the £17,000 the pony has already helped raise.

    Ali told H&H she bought Jack 15 years ago, from “lovely” Mark Brock, who went to a horse fair looking for a coloured horse and came back with Jack and his dam, who was pregnant.

    Ali drove past the field, “fell in love”, and ended up taking home Jack and Joe, his half-brother.

    “About five or six years ago, a nurse saw Jack in the local paper and asked if he would go to a care home. I said ‘we’ll try’,” Ali said.

    “I said I was sure he would, as he comes in my house, and he did, he was there for ages.”

    Jack became a brand ambassador for the East of England Co-Op, which had chosen Dementia UK as its charity of the year. As his fame grew, he was invited to more and more care homes.

    Ali, who has never charged for hers or Jack’s time, said: “I thought, how am I going to get to them all? And that I’d better raise some money instead.”

    A sponsored walk with Jack raised £12,000. Then, after Ali had painted the Christmas card for her stepfather Bob Champion’s charity, selling 5,000 packs of cards, “I thought I’d better do one for Jack”.

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    Last year, Jack featured on a snowman, while this year’s card features Father Christmas.

    “I think this is the best I’ve done,”Ali said. “I love supporting Dementia UK, and the reaction of people when they meet Jack is amazing. He’s brilliant with them.

    “He knows how to be calm, and he’s so responsive — then you take him home and turn him out and he goes galloping and bucking up the field; if you saw him then, you’d think you could never take him into a nursing home! He’s a one-off.”

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