By Sam Davies-Thomas, Haddon Training Racing Lead Business Developer
Racing Welfare is an amazing organisation set up to help those in the horse racing industry that need it most. It’s the only charity that supports all of racing’s people – including stud, stable and racecourse staff, alongside those working in associated professions – from recruitment through to retirement. The charity provides advice and guidance services, and support is available for a wide range of life’s challenges.
Having worked in the racing industry for many years in a variety of roles, from amateur jockey to my current role supporting the next generation of riders and grooms at Haddon Training, I have seen the positive impact that these vital services have on our profession.
Racing Welfare host many fantastic events to fundraise and this year I took part in their cycle challenge, managed by PIE cycling events, to ride from Carlisle Racecourse down to Newton Abbot Racecourse over five days.
We began by arriving in Carlisle on Monday evening with a few hiccups along the way (not booking the bikes on the train journey being one of them!), then Tuesday morning we were up early and ready to begin. We met all the team participating and were greeted by Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, who wished us luck before we set off on our 500-mile trip.
Twenty-six riders took part in the event, and we were split into three groups. My group consisted of Thomas Messenger, Conor Shoemark, Charlie Poste, Rhys Flint, Charlie Morlock, Jamie Insole, Will Biggard, Clive Hatton, Nathan Green and not to forget Andrew Payne our tour guide! We were all there to help raise as much as we could to support the work of Racing Welfare and the ride days flew by with some adventures along the way! We also encountered some horrendous weather conditions; one of the areas I was looking forward to most was the descent through Cheddar Gorge on our final day, however it was not as enjoyable when riding through what felt like a monsoon! The final day I guess the bike needed a clean anyway!
I am so pleased to say that everyone single one of us completed the ride, which is incredible, especially because some had not been riding a bike for very long. The route took in some of the UK’s most challenging climbs and by the time we reached Newton Abbot we completed enough climbing to reach the summit of Everest! It’s amazing what you can do if you set your mind to it, whether it’s managing to be able to ride four lots a morning or complete a challenge like this. I think that it’s so important to set goals and strive to work towards them; it keeps you motivated to succeed.
The support we received from everyone was fantastic; it spurred us on when we needed it and pushed us over the finish line – it really shows how supportive the racing industry is!
Having completed the cycle and had time to reflect, I feel very proud to have been a part of this challenge and to support the work of Racing Welfare. We have now passed the £70,000 marker in donations which could fund the annual cost of employing a welfare team in one of their four regions, providing direct support to anyone working in or retired from racing.
From everyone at Racing Welfare and all the riders involved we would like to say a massive thank you for all your support and kind donations.
Looking forward to next year!
If you would like to find out more about racing welfare or how you can support them, just click here for more information.