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Top lots on offer in online auction in aid of Rory Gilsenan

An online auction, with lots including lessons from top riders, has launched to raise vital funds towards physiotherapy treatment for showing producer Rory Gilsenan.

Karoline Thorpe, owner of Blenheim Miniature Shetland Ponies stud and a close friend of Rory’s, created the fundraiser. She had seen a “call to arms” from working hunter competitor Ginny Rose, who asked riders to donate their time to help raise funds for Rory, who is suffering from the effects of a stroke and ongoing brain cancer.

An evening of entertainment; Jump for Rory, had been due to take place at Addington on 4 April but owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Karoline decided to run the event as an online auction instead. Bidding is open on Facebook and will end at 6pm on Easter Monday (13 April).

**Jump for Rory online auction**

“Rory used to come to the Oxfordshire County & Thame Show when I helped run it and we’ve been friends ever since. This was our way of doing our bit for him,” Karoline told H&H.

“He is a super man and no one deserves to go through what he is. We want to raise as much as we can so he can hopefully get a bit more mobile.”

More than 80 lots have been donated to the auction including lessons with Robert Whitaker, Pammy Hutton and Louise Bell, stallion coverings, a day’s hunting with various packs, member packages for shows, and made-to-measure tack. All proceeds from the auction will go directly to Rory’s family to help fund his care. All lots have been listed on Facebook, and people can bid in the comments.

“We have a very wide selection of items that have been graciously donated; people have been amazing,” said Karoline. “I think it’s because Rory is such a nice person, he’s always friendly and has that Irish glint in his eye, everybody loves him.”

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Karoline said it had been disappointing the evening could not take place, but added that people have got behind the auction.

“Lots are still coming in,” she said. “It was a shame because everyone was looking forward to the evening and Rory had hoped to attend to thank people.

“We hope this has given people something to look forward to and be a part of, especially if they’re at home and self-isolating.”

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