26th October 2017
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THE WOBBLEBERRY CHALLENGE IS EXTENDED TO 2018 AND CONFIRMED AS AN ANNUAL EVENT
As the eventing season draws to a close, The Wobbleberry Challenge, set up in August 2016 by Sally Barr and three other willing volunteers, has exceeded all expectations, with funds raised approaching £250,000 and more than 1,200 people signing up to take part.
The Challenge, set up exclusively to raise money for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, has captured the imagination of the equestrian world. The charity was established in 2016 by Hannah Francis, a young event rider, who lost her battle to osteosarcoma in August of that year at the age of just 18 years old. The Wobbleberry Challenge is a key fundraiser for the charity and encourages non-eventers to challenge themselves to compete in a British Eventing BE80(T) competition, whilst raising funds for the charity.
With so many people wanting to sign up for 2017/18 and some wanting to defer their Challenge, it has been necessary to consider the future of the Challenge going forwards. Following discussions with the Trustees of Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity, the Wobbleberry Challenge will continue to be a fundamental part of the Charity’s fundraising activities and has now been established as an annual programme.
Sally explains, “The Wobbleberry Challenge was set up because we were so inspired by Hannah’s determination and we wanted to raise money for a fantastic charity. People who take part in this personal challenge aim to complete a BE80(T) event, having never completed one previously with their equine partner. Typically, people who participated in 2017 had never considered attempting a BE, but were inspired by Hannah to push themselves. This is such a fundamental part of the Wobbleberry Challenge, because Hannah herself was so inspired by her riding. How fitting indeed that her legacy continues in so many ways, not least in encouraging people into the saddle and proving to themselves that they can achieve something not previously thought possible.”
To sign up for the 2017/18 Wobbleberry Challenge, please log onto the Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity’s website at www.willberrywonderpony.org and purchase a starter pack for £20 plus VAT, the funds for which go directly to the charity. The sign-up process is explained in the starter pack, but more information can be found on the website and at www.wobbleberries.com. If individuals wish to be more involved, they can also apply to be a representative within their area.
3-TIMES OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER ANDREW HOY AGREES TO BE PATRON OF THE WOBBLEBERRY CHALLENGE
Seven-times Australian Olympian Andrew Hoy has agreed to be the Patron of The Wobbleberry Challenge.
Sam Elms, one of the Founders of the Challenge explained, “Andrew was the obvious choice. He has been an active supporter of the Wobbleberry Challenge since the very beginning and is one of the nicest, most generous athletes you could ever wish to meet. I remember asking, on Twitter, whether there were any “professional” eventers who would support the Challenge and Andrew replied very quickly saying he wanted to help and he has been true to his word, helping out whenever and wherever he can.
In March of this year Hoy Eventing hosted a flatwork and jumping Clinic for Wobbleberries at their stables in Leicestershire and very generously provided lunch, intensive coaching and a tour of the stables. By raffling places and rewarding those Wobbleberries who had raised the most sponsorship the Clinic raised over £10,000 for Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony and a date has been set for this to be repeated in 2018.
Andrew Hoy explained, “My first contact with Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity was at the Tattersalls Event in May 2016, when I had the privilege of meeting Hannah. She gave a very touching speech at an Owners & Riders dinner and we all were very emotional about the strength and courage of this wonderful young lady. On that day, I knew I wanted to do something to support the charity. When I heard that the “Wobbleberries” were looking for support later on that year I felt it was the right time to “get active” and support the charity in memory of Hannah.”
Last year´s clinic for a group of Wobbleberries was a great kick off to our cooperation and I look forward to making this an annual event!”
Founder Sally Barr said, “Andrew was the first rider to wear the new “Wobbling for Willberry” armband as he rode around Blenheim carrying his Willberry Wonder Pony “Hoyberry” on his back. He has also very generously agreed to front a series of training videos for Wobbleberries for 2017/18. He was the perfect choice for Patron, he takes it very seriously and we can’t thank him enough”.
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