Show to run in memory of pilot who was lost at sea

  • A showjumping show and family fun day is to be held to raise funds for a memorial garden for a pilot who was lost at sea.

    ‘Jump for Dave#BringDavidHome’ is being held at Oakley Equestrian Centre, Crowle, North Lincolshire on Sunday (24 March) by the Ibbotson family as thank-you to the community following the loss of David Ibbotson, a pilot whose plane went off radar on 21 January after leaving Nantes, France, on its way to the UK. After plane wreckage was found in the English Channel, the body of passenger Emiliano Sala was recovered but David’s body was not found.

    David’s daughter Danielle Ibbotson told H&H the show was the idea of Oakley Equestrian Centre yard manager Mandy Richardson.

    “Mandy has been brilliant and supported me through everything. She came up with the idea of putting on a show and family day and using the money for a memorial garden,” said Danielle. “The show is going to be what we’re about as a family; loving life and having happy times with the animals. It’s also to say thank you to the whole community. It will be doing something my dad liked, a perfect day of horses and kids and families having a great time, taking pictures and making memories; doing what they love.

    “When we first organised it we were still searching for him so it was to raise funds in the hope we would find him but the money is for the memorial garden now. My next-door neighbour is a landscape gardener who is going to buy the materials and we are going to do the garden down at our stables which my dad built for us, so all the family have somewhere to go and have some quiet time.

    “As a family every single night, me, my mum Nora, brother Bradley, and dad were down at the stables and we’ve had our best family memories down there, having barbecues and generally helping each other out. The garden is going to be situated near where we ride, it’s where he used to sit and watch us ride.”

    Danielle said her dad learnt how to help with horses and became “very involved”.

    “We’ve had horses for 15 years; at the start my dad couldn’t put a headcollar on but then he learnt how to put rugs on, muck out, he would load the trailer and take us to shows. I had a horse, Keiro, who wouldn’t go in a horsebox – it took us a year but my dad and I spent time doing natural horsemanship and by the end we got him in, he was very involved in that way as well. He went from being like ‘I don’t want anything to do with the horses’ to being full on and taking selfies with them and leading them out,” she said.

    “Nellie is the first horse we bought as a family. We’ve got memories of my dad walking her off for me and thinking it would be a good idea to try and get on her but the girth was loose – he thought he was helping but he hadn’t checked the tack.”

    The show is open to all with entries taken on the day. Classes will run from 40cm to 1m, including a puissance, with prizes sponsored by TopSpec and Emerald Feeds.

    Mandy Richarson told H&H: “The family are such a close family and everyone in the community thinks the world of them. Everyone has really come together and it’s just something for to say thank you to everybody. We’re very proud of the support and it’s coming together.

    “We have amazing raffle prizes, and in the indoor school is going to be kitted out for children and families with all sorts of things to do inside like face painting and a bouncy castle.”

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