The first ever charity fundraising event organised by The Eventing Family has raised more than £30,000, recieving support from a host of famous faces from the world of sport.
The event, staged during Bicton Arena’s international horse trials, was a sell out, with 280 tickets sold and dozens more joining in the after party.
The party was initially the idea of event rider Aaron Millar who was involved in a serious car crash earlier this year. With Ben Hobday and Hannah Francis both battling cancer and arena manager Helen West’s mother suffering from motor neurone disease, he gathered a team of friends to create a committee and stage the fundraising event for the four charities Cancer Research UK, the Spinal Research, Teenage Cancer Trust and Motor Neurone Disease Association.
The evening’s auctioneer James Green, whose daughter Jemima was seriously injured in the car crash, said: “It was a wonderful event, brilliantly organised, and very enjoyable to be a part of. Very competitive bidding ensured a great result on the ten lots sold on the night. The auction of ‘dogsbodies‘ later in the evening was a real eye opener for the huge crowd!”
Ben Hobday commented: “The power of the horsey community is unbelievable and through the Eventing Family it can be channelled to help people and let them know support is here.”
Former England footballer David James, top jockey Nick Scholfield and Dani Evans, who will make her British team senior debut at the European Championships at Blair next month, were three of the six people who were auctioned as ‘general dogsbodies’ helping to swell the coffers.
Other lots included a day’s labour from Sir Mark Todd which sold for £1,200; life membership to British Eventing (£1600); a holiday in Morocco (£5,100); a day on a film set with Con Air film maker Simon West which went to £400; dinner for four with Harry Meade (£860), four weeks breaking in with Padraig McCarthy (£800) and tickets to the Six Nations Cup at Twickenham (£560).
Organiser Sophie Richardson added: “It was a brilliant evening and far better than we could ever have anticipated. We are so grateful to everyone who has supported us. The auction prizes have all been superb and it is thanks to the generosity of so many people that we have raised so much money.”
Such has been the success of the event that the Eventing Family committee are considering making it an ongoing cause. Sophie said: “We are definitely thinking about becoming a registered charity so that we can keep raising money for good causes. It worked so well holding it during the horse trials and everyone seemed to have such a great time. It’s so heart warming when something like this comes off and everyone pulls together to help those in need.”