The seven amateur Yorkshire riders set for the Ride of Their Lives to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Care

Seven Yorkshire riders have been chosen to take part in one of the most prestigious charity horse races in the country.

The Ernest Cooper Macmillan Ride of Their Lives takes place at York Racecourse in June and is run in front of a race-day crowd numbering around 25,000.

Each year 12 amateur non-race riders are chosen to compete with each pledging to raise at least £3,000 for the charity.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the collaboration between Macmillan Cancer Care and York racecourse and to celebrate this milestone, all the funds raised at this year’s race will go directly into providing support for people across Yorkshire.

The seven amateur Yorkshire riders chosen to take part in The Ride of their Lives charity horse race.

Last year, Ride of Their Lives provided a boost of more than £600,000 and regularly tops the £100,000 mark.

Yorkshire riders lining up at the start of this year’s race, will be a designer, the owner of an online parenting website, an assistant racehorse trainer and a show-jumper with ages ranging from early twenties to late fifties.

Eleven of the 12 riders chosen to race in the Ernest Cooper Macmillan Ride of their Lives charity horserace.

Anyone can apply for a place when entries open regardless of their age or experience. Applicants must send in a 60-second video of themselves riding at canter, gallop or jumping along with a referee who can vouch for their riding ability and suitability to race.

The submissions are then scrutinised by organisers before the final choice is made.

Selected riders then need to find a professional trainer and yard to support them with coaching and to supply them with a mount for the race.

Sean Quinn, from Malton, will be training at his father, John Quinn’s yard, where he is an assistant trainer.

Despite being on a racing yard, Sean, 28, said he has not actually ridden for around 20 years, only getting back on a horse again in October.

He said he would be representing the whole yard as he raced in memory of a member of staff who died recently.

“Our Head Lass, Cheryl Steel, died two weeks ago from cancer and I am doing it in her memory.

“We are a close knit yard and I am representing all of us.”

Sean’s mum, Sue, has also beaten breast cancer three times so he said the charity is very close to his heart.

Sarah Jane Barker, from York, runs the Ryedale Mumbler parenting website. She said she was both nervous and excited about the race.

An experienced rider, the 38-year-old was on the GB Student Rider Dressage Team and breeds bloodstock horses on the family farm.

Sarah Jane will be training with Tim Easterby and said she wanted to raise money for Macmillan after losing her godfather and cousin, Cailey Sackur, to cancer five years ago.

“We also lost Colin Rookes on Christmas Eve. Colin had worked on our family farm for more than 40 years,” she said.

Designer Clare Shepherd has also lost someone close to her very recently, her father David.

“My dad is my hero,” she said.

“He always encouraged me to do different things because I could. The team at Macmillan were extraordinary when he was ill and they are my heroes too.”

Clare, 59, is from Leeds and started riding again when her children left home, buying a racehorse off the track. She will be training with Sam England.

Natasha Nelson, 33, will be training with David O’Mara and said she wanted to give something back to the charity which had helped her friend when her husband was dying.

“Both my aunt and uncle have survived cancer, but my friend’s husband didn’t. I saw what a good charity Macmillan is and wanted to give something back.”

Kelsey Langley from York, who works on a racing yard, said she was also doing the race after finding out first hand about Macmillan’s work.

“I lost my mum to cancer in February last year and you don’t know how much the Macmillan team do.”

Kelsey, 26, will be training on her employer, Philip Makin’s yard.

Full time showjumper, Ria Ginley from York described the race as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

The 27-year-old who will train with Roger Fell, was encouraged by her best friend’s dad, who died of cancer last year.

“He always said if you could raise money doing something you love you are winning and I am so excited to be taking part.”

The final Yorkshire competitor is 22-year-old Lois Teal from Malton who said she was inspired by a girl she teaches at Pony Club.

“She beat cancer and is now back competing and winning,” she said. Lois will train with Richard Fahey.