WellChild officials thrilled with money raised by racing community

WellChild chief executive Colin Dyer hailed the racing community after more than £150,000 was raised for the charity during the Cheltenham Festival.

The charity, which is headquartered in Cheltenham, was named as a title partner for the meeting in February, with the aim of raising not only money, but also awareness of its work.

Cheltenham’s owners Jockey Club Racecourses recognised WellChild in the title of the feature Gold Cup, and also utilised space around the track to promote the name.

WellChild’s principal aim is to prevent seriously ill children from spending long spells in hospitals, instead supporting families in providing the necessary care from home.

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The charity lost 60 per cent of its projected income when the coronavirus crisis took hold last year, but their funds have received a big boost over the last four days.

Several figures from the racing world have provided donations, including owners the Masterson family and Marie Donnelly, who both contributed £10,000 after Appreciate It and Shishkin’s respective wins on Tuesday. Sky Bet, sponsors of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, donated the same amount.

Dyer said: “After what has been such a challenging year for WellChild and the families we support, partnership with the Festival has been such a welcome boost to everyone connected to the charity.

“From the branding across the racecourse, including a 750sqm logo in front of the grandstand to the tens of thousands of pounds and counting in donations we have received so far, it has been so heart-warming to see the whole racing community get behind WellChild.

“This support means so much and will help us ensure we are ready to respond to the needs of families caring for a seriously ill child this year and into the future. A huge thank you to the Jockey Club, our amazing ambassador (ITV presenter) Ed Chamberlin and the entire racing community!”

Coronavirus restrictions meant the meeting had to take place behind closed doors, but Ian Renton, the Jockey Club’s regional managing director, believes armchair fans will still have had plenty to savour.

He said: “We’ve just seen four fantastic days of racing with some amazing performances on the track and milestones achieved by Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead.

“Honeysuckle’s performance in the Unibet Champion Hurdle was a real standout on the first day and Henry’s one-two in the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup saw him become the first trainer in history to win that, the Unibet Champion Hurdle and the Betway Champion Chase at the same Festival.

“We hope that racing fans watching at home in large numbers have really enjoyed the very best jump racing has to offer.”

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