Top riders sign up to support Willberry Wonder Pony ball

  • A star-studded list of riders has got behind a ball in aid of Hannah Francis’s charity Willberry Wonder Pony.

    Organisers say a “phenomenal” response to the event has meant all 550 seats have already been snapped up, but 80 after-party tickets are now available.

    The ball, which takes place at Quendon Hall, Essex, on November 11, has secured support from a string of top riders and trainers.

    They include Nicola Wilson, Kitty King, Ben Hobday, Jock Paget, Gemma Tattersall, Nick Skelton, Oliver Townsend, Charlotte Dujardin, Laura Renwick, Laura Collett, Yazmin Pinchen, Mary and Emily King, Yogi Breisner, Piggy French, Pammy Hutton, Jayne Turney, Phoebe Buckley, Matthew Wright, Tim Cheffings and Wocket Woy.

    Their prize donations will be listed in a silent auction due to launch online two weeks before the event, and also in a live auction on the night.

    Lots up for grabs include stallion coverings, lessons and overnight stays with top riders, a holiday to Monaco for four people for the Longines Global Champions Tour, donated by Elite Horse Owners, and a VIP experience at the Burberry Flagship store with £1,000 spending money, donated by Matthew Wright.

    “We’ll have a raffle on the night for prizes valued below £100, where there’ll be a one in six chance to win something — a voucher or item of clothing,” said organiser Laura Brooks. “Everything else will go on our silent auction page and the top ten lots will be brought in for the live auction.

    “People who haven’t got tickets will still have the opportunity to bid over the phone and hopefully online as well.”

    All proceeds will be going to the Willberry charity, the legacy of young eventer Hannah Francis who lost her fight with bone cancer on August 1. The charity raises money for bone cancer research as well as granting equine wishes to those battling terminal illnesses.

    Members of Hannah’s family will be attending the ball, which features a meal and entertainment, while those buying passes for the after-party will be able to access the bar, auctions, live music and attractions including casino and caricaturist from 8.30pm-1am.

    The event was organised by Laura and her friends Emily Tickridge and Charlotte Barter.

    “We are three normal stable girls who share the same passion as Hannah: horses and competing,” said Laura.

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    “Hannah’s charity has really touched us and more so for my friend Emily who was afflicted with the same cancer as Hannah as a teenager, but thankfully has been in remission for a number of years.

    “We didn’t know Hannah or her family but they were happy with us to go ahead with the ball and have been really supportive.”

    For after-party tickets, which cost £30, contact the organisers here. https://www.facebook.com/The-Willberry-Ball-11th-Nov-2016-Quendon-Hall-1023694441060095

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