A Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group is hoping to raise funds by auctioning a silver-plated shoe belonging to the great Valegro.
Carl Hester donated the shoe to the Corse Lawn RDA group, who operate just a few miles from his Gloucestershire base.
The mounted shoe is accompanied by a photograph of the double Olympic champion at his retirement ceremony at Olympia, and is signed by both Carl and Charlotte Dujardin.
Charlotte and “Blueberry” are the only combination in history to concurrently hold Olympic, World and European gold medals in their discipline, along with achieving multiple world record-breaking scores.
The rare memento will go to the highest bidder in an online auction, which runs until 8 May, with the leading bid standing at just over £1k at the time of writing.
Belinda Sparey, whose mother founded the Corse Lawn group more than 40 years ago, said: “I run a catering business as well as volunteering for the RDA and I have done some work for Carl. I was cheeky enough to ask if he had anything we could auction and he kindly offered me one of Valegro’s shoes. I have had it framed by the same company Carl uses to frame his medals.
“I can’t believe the amount it has risen too already. I know Carl previously auctioned one of Valegro’s shoes when he was visiting the US and it raised an enormous amount ($7500) — he was giving a masterclass on that occasion, so we’re not expecting quite that much!”
A fund-raising campaign has been launched to create a life-size statue of Valegro
An original painting of Carl Hester and Nip Tuck was also auctioned
‘I told Charlotte he could jump and she said 'prove it’!’
Corse Lawn is a small RDA group that is staffed entirely by volunteers and “volunteer” ponies and doesn’t charge children to ride. They meet once a week in term time as well as holding a summer camp in June each year.
“The money raised will go into a melting pot to look after the children,” said Belinda. “We’ve recently had a huge Easter egg hunt and at Christmas, Father Christmas comes to give the children presents — it goes towards running the whole show.
“We’re a small group so we don’t get a lot of donations — we have to do a bit every year to keep the funds topped up.”
The donation of the shoe is not the first time Carl has helped out the group.
“Carl knew of a pony that wasn’t being used any more from a local stud and he asked me if would it do for RDA. I live on a farm and the pony has come to live here with us and is now used in the group,” Belinda added. “I think he’s one of the most generous people I know.”
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