YORKSHIRE’S Debbie Eastwood and Lauren Charlton embarked on a 200-mile riding expedition satisfied that their gruelling efforts would raise money for charity.
But helping to pull in a staggering £13,000 has been beyond their wildest expectations. In July, West Hardwick’s Eastwood and Crofton’s Charlton embarked on tackling the Pennine Bridleway Trail on horseback, all in support of Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.
The duo chose to ride the challenging route as a thank-you to the hospital that treated Debbie’s son, Tom, for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, and again when it recurred in 2011.
After helping to raise an amazing £13,120.70, their arduous efforts have certainly been worthwhile.
From a combination of on-the-day donations and online fund-raising, the duo raised an outstanding £6,560.35 towards the charity’s Do Your Bit campaign, which is raising funds to create a brand new, state-of-the-art cancer research and treatment suite at Weston Park Hospital.
The amount raised has been doubled by not-for-profit health insurer Westfield Health.
Weston Park’s new suite will allow patients access to a wider range of cutting-edge anti-cancer treatments, as well as enabling significant development of the hospital’s ground-breaking programme of clinical trials.
Naturally, it is a cause very close to 60-year-old Eastwood’s heart. Both Eastwood and 25-year-old Charlton admit the success and generosity stemming from their charity ride has left them staggered.
“The ride went better than we could have ever hoped for, and with fantastic support from residents along the way we managed to raise a wonderful amount for the cancer charity,” said Eastwood.
“Aside from very sore bums, we managed the 180-mile distance virtually without setback, and I can truly say the experience was one of the happiest of my life.”
Crofton added: “The generosity of people along the route was remarkable. Considering our party consisted of five people, four horses, two lorries and a van, we were accommodated free of charge and treated with the utmost kindness and generosity.”
The duo’s expedition took them from Kirkby Stephen in the Yorkshire Dales to the Bakewell Show. Over a 13-day period, Eastwood and Crofton journeyed through two National Parks, crossed miles of moorland and passed through Peak District villages including Settle, Glossop and Buxton, before arriving in the Derbyshire town of Bakewell.
It was at the Bakewell Show where their arrival was officially announced by Bakewell Show committee member and chief executive of the Mounted Games Association Mary Worth.
Three months later, the duo know their efforts have helped raise over £13,000 with Weston Park charity fund-raiser Helen Gentle admitting the White Rose pairing can be mightily proud of their efforts.
“We are so grateful that Debbie and Lauren chose to support us by taking part in such an imaginative and gruelling challenge,” said Gentle.
“Not only did the ride raise an unbelievable amount of money, it also helped to increase awareness of the charity throughout Derbyshire.
“Weston Park Hospital cares for more than 11,000 people from Derbyshire every year and the money raised really will make a big difference to cancer patients right across our region.”
For more information on the Do Your Bit campaign visit www.do-your-bit.org.uk. To find out more about Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity visit www.wphcancercharity.org.uk.
No decision will be taken on Jonathan Paget’s status as Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials champion until the outcome of his FEI tribunal hearing is known.
The New Zealand eventer’s top ride, Clifton Promise, has returned a positive B sample result for the banned substance Reserpine.
Surrey-based Paget and the horse on which he triumphed at Badminton and Burghley this year, has been provisionally suspended since mid-October after results of initial testing carried out following the Burghley event in September.