This month will see a woman dressed as Santa trek 60 miles on her horse to raise cash for Eden Valley Hospice.
Sarah Cokell and Diamond the horse will be trekking around the local community to spread the festive spirit and support the charity.
Eden Valley Hospice is a special charity for Sarah and Diamond, as Diamond’s owner’s family are being supported by the hospice.
Sarah, 37, of Carlisle, said: “I have always had horses until a couple of years ago when I had a baby and decided to give it all up.
“Fast forward only a year and I decided as one of my 2020 New Year resolutions that I was going to get back riding again.
“I saw an advert locally for someone to ride a 20-year-old sports horse stallion that had been off work for a few years after having a successful competition career and just needed someone to ride out occasionally and generally just fuss and love.
“I thought it sounded perfect, no set commitment and a fantastic horse to enjoy riding again.
“I’ve also become involved in helping Paige, who owns Diamond and 17 other horses on the yard, often doing a day or afternoon for her.
“I was furloughed in April so spent more and more time on the yard helping out where I could.
“I noticed more often Paige was having to dash off to look after her mum or take her to appointments due to her cancer treatment and during the summer she spent several weeks in and out of Eden Valley Hospice.
“I tried to help Paige out as much as I could as I could see the strain this was putting on them trying to juggle everything. I also found out about how much support the hospice was providing not only to Paige’s mum but Paige herself.”
After the challenging year many people have faced, Sarah decided to do something silly by dressing herself and Diamond as Santa to help put a smile on the face of local people as she rode around the Durdar area. Sarah decided to raise money for Eden Valley Hospice as a thank you to the care and support provided to Paige and her family.
Sarah added: “Eden Valley Hospice was the first thing that came to my mind as I am so grateful to Paige and her family for allowing me to ride Diamond and take him on pretty much as my own horse, giving me a much needed boost, especially since I had suffered with my mental health the year before.
“I have been so grateful to them to give me the opportunity that I wanted to try and give something back to them after all they’ve done for me when they are going through such tough times themselves.
“Paige has talked about how supportive the hospice has been and that the hospice has really been a lifeline to them during such a difficult and upsetting time in their lives.”
The money raised by Sarah and Diamond will help Eden Valley Hospice to provide care, support and compassion to local people with life limiting illnesses.
To sponsor Sarah and Diamond, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarahanddiamond.
Sarah added: “One of the things I’m looking forward to the most and have already experienced is seeing people’s faces light up and see people smile when they see us out and about.
“It’s been lovely to have people stop and speak with us, especially since the year has been a lonely one for a lot of us, just having a chat with a stranger brightens both our days.
“I also love the freedom of being out on our own in the countryside, it’s a fantastic grounding experience and allows me to forget any of my worries and focus on the more positive things. Exercise is good for the soul, and as Diamond is 21 in January it is good to keep him fit and active.
“One of the biggest challenges we’ll face is definitely going to be the December Cumbrian weather, I’m just hoping it stays relatively mild and dry. I also work full-time and have a toddler so trying to juggle all my other commitments with riding when there’s reduced daylight hours will be interesting.”
As key workers, both the clinical and support staff teams at Eden Valley Hospice are here for the local community. The hospice is open and doing all it can during these times to continue to provide care and compassion to those in need, whilst following strict guidelines. The hospice is here for the local community and still supporting the NHS.
If you would like to host your own fundraising event in aid of Eden Valley Hospice please visit www.edenvalleyhospice.org, email [email protected] or contact the Fundraising Team on 01228 810801.