Following a heartfelt fundraising campaign in memory of groom Charlotte Cole, a cheque for more than £100,000 will be presented to the Midlands Air Ambulance at Stratford on Thursday.
Cole, the head girl for Worcestershire trainer Claire Dyson, died in a gallops accident in 2011 when she was 23 years old.
Roger and Diane Dyson, Dyson and Cole’s parents, have raised funds for the charity in a variety of ways over the years, including annually sponsoring a race at Stratford, with the third race (2.40) on Thursday afternoon named the Charlotte Cole Memorial Handicap Chase.
“It was so tragic to lose Charlotte 11 years ago, and it was the Midlands Air Ambulance who took her from the gallops to hospital, where she survived for two days and her wish to donate her organs was fulfilled,” said Dyson, who also sponsors the opening conditional jockeys’ selling hurdle on the seven-race card.
“Charlotte was a really good kid, did everything around the yard and was really hard working. She lived and breathed horses and would have had a great career in racing.
“We started raising money to pay for her air ambulance that day – we thought it would be a nice thing to do – and it has taken off from there. We’ve had open days, cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End, jumped out of planes, done zipwires and all sorts.
“The racing industry has been fantastic – jockeys have been great in providing signed breeches and photos, the Hales family have brought Neptune Collonges down to our open days and Roger Brookhouse and Max McNeill have very kindly donated prize-money after winning Charlotte’s race.
“We’ve had another push to raise money this year after Covid got in the way and it’s been done in the right way. The racing community has pulled together amazingly. People have been very, very generous.”