On Saturday Macmillan Charity Raceday comfortably passed the landmark figure of £8m raised for Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities since the enduring partnership between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support was first started in 1971.It is Macmillan’s biggest single fundraising event and the largest charity raceday in British Racing.
Despite a showery afternoon, over 21,000 racegoers enjoyed an action packed afternoon which saw the £100,000 Pavers Foundation Catherine Memorial Sprint go to Encrypted, carrying the famous Juddmonte silks, as Hugo Palmer and Josephine Gordon combined to give Prince Khalid Abdullah. Another big race winner. The total raised on Saturday currently stands at over £470,000 with final fundraising and donations still to be received.
The finale to Macmillan Charity Raceday saw history made as the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives had two winners, after the judge called a dead heat, between X Rated and Apterix.
This meant that two riders, Sarah Fanning and Chris Brownless, were both winners of the race. Perhaps, more importantly, the group of 11 riders and their supporters raised £110,000 for the charity.
Sarah Fanning, 37, from Middleham, said: “I was so nervous at the start; it’s surreal that I’ve won with Chris. Everyone has done amazingly well and raised so much money for Macmillan. That’s what it’s all about.”
Chris Brownless, the oldest competitor, aged 64, from Wooler, Northumberland said: “It’s a special day. I was riding today in memory of my brother who died from cancer in 2015. He would have been 60 today.”
The group included Chris Hughes, star of ITV2’s Love Island and Coral’s #LoveRacing ambassador who came with a late run to finish 5th in the race. Earlier in the day, Chris staged a successful selfie station for fans to have pictures with him, in return for donations to Macmillan. Commenting on the past six months as well as today, he said “It was an amazing experience and the support from the crowd was unbelievable. I’m disappointed not to win but I’ve loved every minute of the race, the day and the months of training leading up to today, and just want to have another go now. I would like to thank Coral, Jonjo O’Neill, Richard Fahey and Dominic Elsworth and all the other people who’ve all made this possible. It’s one of the best things I’ve done. My fellow jockeys have all been incredible supportive and we’d like to thank everyone who has raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support.”
Over 200 volunteers helped with the fundraising events across the day with in addition to the support of countless individuals and organisations with fundraising activities of auctions, raffles, fundraising lunch and donations. Of the £8m raised, 90% goes to Macmillan Cancer Support to improve the lives of people living with cancer. The remaining 10% goes to a number of charities such as York Against Cancer, St Leonard’s Hospice, Racing Welfare and the Injured Jockeys Fund.
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who has supported Macmillan Charity Raceday and made it such a success. At Macmillan we rely on donations to fund our services and help people living with cancer life live as fully as they can, so we’re hugely grateful to everyone that has been involved.”
William Derby, York Racecourse Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course commented; “To have raised over £8m is an amazing achievement and a tribute to everyone past and present who has contributed to make this raceday such a wonderful event. Countless individuals and organisations have been so generous with their time, involvement and support of the day from throughout the racing and Yorkshire community – it is a special day everyone associated with it can be very proud of.”
Andrew Denton, Head of Member Services at Best Western Hotels, the long term sponsor of the race said: “This is the sporting event of the summer, forget the World Cup! Eleven ordinary people doing something extraordinary for charity, and Best Western is proud to be supporting Macmillan and the riders for the third year running in the incredible Ride of their Lives.”
Macmillan Charity Raceday is a fundraising collaboration between York Racecourse and Macmillan Cancer Support. The day of professional racing and fundraising has been held annually since 1971, and has now raised more than £8 million in total for Macmillan and other charitable causes.
You can still donate to the riders’ fundraising pages at: www.macmillan.org.uk/charityraceday<http://www.macmillan.org.uk/charityraceday>