Superstar’s racing colours to raise funds for new equine therapy centre named after late teenager

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  • A new equine therapy centre will be named in memory of Jack de Bromhead – as Henry de Bromhead-trained superstar mare Honeysuckle’s colours go up for auction to help fund the facility’s running costs.

    The Jack de Bromhead Equine Therapy Centre will be built this year at charity ChildVision’s campus at Drumcondra, Dublin, as a result of donations from a group of family and friends of the de Bromhead family. The centre will have an indoor arena, up to 10 stables, learning space and ancillary accommodation.

    Jack, the 13-year-old son of Grand National and Gold Cup-winning trainer Henry, died after a fall at Glenbeigh Racing Festival on 3 September 2022.

    Chris Jones, a family friend and racehorse owner, led the fundraising campaign with the blessing of Jack’s parents Henry and Heather, and the the €1,000,000 (£854,418) target was met in December. The facility will give children who are blind, multi-disabled and neurodiverse access to “the best global equine activities in a supportive and purpose-designed environment” and will allow the ChildVision equine team and volunteers to reach more children, “making a life-changing difference”.

    An image of what the Jack de Bromhead Equine Centre will look like.

    “I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit ChildVision last summer and to see first-hand the therapeutic impact that equine can have on children with complex needs. I knew that Henry and Heather already had a connection to ChildVision and knowing that many friends and family members wanted to find some way to mark Jack’s love of horses in a tangible way, the Jack de Bromhead Equine Centre concept came to fruition,” said Chris.

    “The response to my call for donations was unbelievably kind and generous. It’s a testament to the high regard the de Bromheads are held in that we are in a position to make the equine centre at ChildVision in Jack’s name a reality.”

    To help with the centre’s operating costs, Honeysuckle’s owner Kenny Alexander, has donated the racing colours Rachael Blackmore wore in all their major races including four Cheltenham Festival victories and nine Irish Grade Ones, for auction. The silks, signed by Rachael, Henry, and Kenny, will be auctioned at the Goffs sale at the Punchestown Festival on 2 May.

    Rachael said Honeysuckle gave her “some of the best days of my career” and the colours hold a lot of special memories.

    “Zoe, Henry’s travelling head girl, always kept this one special set aside just for Honeysuckle and I wore them in all of Honeysuckle’s big days at Fairyhouse, Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown,” she said.

    “They are going to be auctioned, and all money raised will be donated to the operating costs of the new Jack de Bromhead Equine Centre. The donation will make a lasting difference to those children and their families who will benefit so much from the amazing work that they do at ChildVision, where hopefully many more great memories will be made.”

    The de Bromhead family said the centre will be a “wonderful legacy for our beloved Jack, a hugely missed son and brother”.

    “Horses are a huge part of our lives, and we know the physical experience of riding a horse offers so many potential benefits, especially helping address a host of physical, social and emotional issues,” they said.

    “More so, it will be a place of learning and hope, full of laughter and joy, traits that were such a part of Jack, all facilitated by the much-treasured horses and ponies that call the ChildVision stables home.

    “We are looking forward to following the development and construction of the new equine therapeutic centre and being there to cut the ribbon when it is completed. We are for ever grateful to those who came on board to support us – we know Jack would be really proud of what this life-changing generosity will enable.”

    ChildVision chief executive Barry Sheridan added that the charity had already raised more than €500,000 towards the centre, but “without this extraordinary fundraising support we would not have been in a position to break ground in 2024 on this vital facility”.

    “We would like to thank the de Bromhead family, Chris Jones and the other wonderful benefactors for enabling our dream to come true. We will ensure that Jack’s legacy and that of his loving family, who so generously agreed to share his name with us, will live on for generations to come,” he said.

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