Wetherby Racecourse, found in the stunning West Yorkshire countryside, will – for the 17th year running - be the setting for some exciting racing and for a major fundraising day for the charity Spinal Research on Wednesday 17th October.
JP McNamara, the jump jockey who fell at Bangor in April 2006 breaking his neck, will be the charity’s guest of honour. JP, a ‘near miss’, thankfully is not paralysed and continues to make encouraging progress with his health.
JP will attend alongside ex-jump jockey Richard Dunwoody, a long standing and keen supporter of Spinal Research, and both will join lunch guests (including actress Claire King) helping to raise as much money as possible for the charity. This year guests will enjoy a champagne reception and lunch in the Spinal Research marquee where the fundraising activities are focused. Raffles, auctions and collections will all contribute to the atmosphere.
As JP said “As a jockey, falling off horses is unfortunately part of the job but so is the awareness of how serious a fall can be. I was lucky – coming so close to paralysis myself, I am thrilled to support a charity that researches and develops treatments for paralysis caused by a broken back or neck and am honoured to help in whatever way I can to raise awareness of this cause.”
Long-term supporter Rachel Wright organised this charity race day at Wetherby for 15 years and raised some £237,000 for Spinal Research in that time. Rachel was a remarkable woman and lived her life to the full although she had broken her back in a riding accident when she was just 21.
Sadly Rachel passed away in early 2006 but her friends have once again taken the challenge of running the event in memory of Rachel and to help progress in the research and repair of damaged spinal cords. Last year they raised over £20,000 profit for the charity. JP and Richard will be presenting a perpetual trophy in memory of Rachel to the winning jockey of the 2.10pm Rachel Wright Memorial Hurdle.
Spinal Research is giving hope to thousands of people confined to life in a wheelchair. The money raised will go towards turning hope into reality. A few lunch tickets (at £35 including admittance badges) are still available. For more information, please contact: Jil Hartley on 01759 373700 or 07969 675090.
Wetherby Racecourse is unique in Yorkshire because it only stages Jump Racing. With arguably the finest Jumping Course in the North, the quality of Wetherby’s racing is renowned throughout the sport.
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Notes to Editors:
• Spinal Research focuses on finding ways to repair damaged spinal cords – something long thought impossible. Established in 1980, the charity raises money for groundbreaking projects at scientific and medical institutions around the world.
• In every aspect of its activities, whether in raising funds or in allocating funds to research projects, Spinal Research works in accordance with the highest scientific and ethical principles and currently receives no direct funding from the UK government.
• The spinal cord, part of the central nervous system, cannot repair itself unaided. Spinal cord injury is about more than paralysis of the arms, legs and torso; it also affects sensation, the body’s control systems and sexual function.
• The typical victim of spinal cord injury is a young, active person, often the victim of a road accident, fall or sporting accident.
• More than 40,000 people in the UK are paralysed as a result of damage to the spinal cord, and around 700 more are added to this list every year. The average age at which paralysis occurs is young – just 19 or 20.
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