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‘We missed him’: show raises £1,500 in support of rider days after his brain surgery

An equestrian centre has raised £1,500 to help find a cure for brain tumours, in support of showing producer Rory Gilsenan who is undergoing treatment for the condition.

Addington Equestrian Centre raised the funds at its pre-HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) working hunter show last Sunday (22 September), days after Rory underwent a second brain surgery.

The Bicester-based rider was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour a year ago at the age of 49 shortly after taking his first victory at HOYS.

His course of treatment involved surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy but the tumour returned and last Friday he underwent a second operation.

At Rory’s request, donations for the Milton Keynes-based charity Brain Tumour Research were collected at the Addington show, which he usually attends. Winners were also encouraged to donate their prize money, helping raise the £1,500 towards vital research.

“Rory is a very popular guy and everyone is hoping the surgery has gone well. Rory’s absence on Sunday was very much felt. We were all thinking about him,” said Addington manager Chris Parker.

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Brain tumours are responsible for the deaths of more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease.

Paula Rastrick, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research in the central region, said: “We are very grateful to Addington Equestrian Centre for its support. Rory’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. Together, with the help of all our supporters, we will find a cure.”

Friends of Rory’s from the equestrian world have rallied to support the rider, with many using the hashtag #RootingforRory on social media to send their good wishes.

Rory’s wife Vanessa posted on Facebook on Friday that his operation had gone well and that he was up and “busy reading all your messages”.

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