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Amateur pony riders raise more than £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support with choreographed routine to Steps' 5, 6, 7, 8

October 14th 2022, 1:40 pm by Allan Longshadow

A group of young riders and their ponies and horses have raised more than £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support by taking part in a 'quadrille' choreographed routine to the song 5, 6, 7, 8 by pop band Steps.  

Organised by Whitegate Farm Livery & Training in Hope, Wrexham, the event took place on Saturday 8 October and saw the eight amateur riders create and perform the organised routine in the farm's arena while audiences enjoyed a cuppa and a cake as part of a Macmillan Coffee Morning.  

They even received a good luck video message before the event from Steps band member H, real name Ian Watkins, who said: "I can't wait to see it, I'm wishing you tonnes of love and tonnes of luck. I hope you raise so much money for an incredible cause that is Macmillan."  

Steph Bradley, who owns the farm, is a qualified dressage coach and experienced with quadrilles – and has even co-directed a quadrille that was performed in front of the Queen at the Royal Windsor Show. After an initial appeal seeking volunteers, Steph was inundated with responses and put together a group of eight riders and their ponies and small horses, featuring a mixture of children and adults, ranging in age from 11 to mid-50s, all of whom are amateur riders.  

She said the day had been a huge success and she was thrilled with the amount raised for Macmillan.  

"It was a beautiful day – the weather couldn't have been better for riding and as there was no wind it was easy to hear the music. The riders hadn't met before the day and at first were a little nervous about learning the routine so quickly. After practicing it on foot first, they then rehearsed it with the ponies – and each time it just got better and better. People who saw the final performance thought we had been rehearsing for weeks.  We'd chosen the song 5, 6, 7, 8 to reflect that there were eight riders and the music fitted so well. It worked perfectly from the moment they started trotting until the moment they finished. The ponies and riders loved it."  

She added:

"We have been overwhelmed with donations. We'd had £200 before the event had even started, thanks to amazing support from people who wanted to be there but couldn't. We are now up to £1,085.65 – and it keeps on rising. People have been so generous."

 One of the riders who took part was 11 year old Max Cookson-Johnson, from West Kirby in the Wirral, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia four years ago and who last year had a bone marrow transplant. Max's pony Bambi, a grey Welsh section B mare, has been a huge part of his recovery journey and the youngster was keen to take part in the event to help support others living with cancer. Max said: "It was really great to be involved and to help raise awareness of cancer."  

His mother, Amelia Cookson, added:

"Max had such a lovely time. Due to Max's treatment, Bambi has not been away from her stable for the last couple of years so we were wondering how she was going to get on. She was a little bit excited at first but really enjoyed it."  

Amelia explained that Max was asked to help to draw the raffle, which had been organised by Annabel Haskins, mother of Esme Lockwood, who also took part in the quadrille, and included prizes donated by local businesses. Max even did a speech thanking everyone for attending and supporting.  

Amelia said:

"It was so lovely that he did that, and very moving, given his experiences. We loved the event because there was not the pressure of a show when you have a minute or two to do your routine. It was great that they got the time to learn the routine, at a happy pace, before performing it."  

Katy Powell, Partnership Quality Lead for Macmillan in Wales, helped support Whitegate Farm Livery & Training Centre during the organising of the event and attended on the day. She said:

"It was such a great, unique event. Steph is well known within the equestrian world and has worked with many top riders – but this event was all about celebrating amateur riders, who were taking part in a quadrille for the very first time, and indeed meeting each other for the first time. They all did so well – everyone was smiling, and they all looked so happy to be taking part. The event really brought the community together, with family and friends coming along to see the riders. We had grandparents coming to see their grandchildren, so there was a real family focus to the day, and we were also thrilled to get lots of support and donations online from people within the riding community, and family and friends in general who wanted to support. It is amazing how the coffee morning and quadrille brought so many people together from different communities. It is proof that it doesn't matter what your interests are, people come together to support cancer. So many people want to help."  

She added that the money raised will make a huge different to people whose lives have been affected by cancer. She said:

"Sadly one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetimes and the support provided by Macmillan makes a real difference in the lives of people living with cancer and their loved ones. Every penny raised at events such as this one helps Macmillan to provide the local services that people living with cancer desperately need, and that is especially true at the moment. Going through cancer treatment or getting a diagnosis is tough enough to deal with, and now the cost-of-living crisis is increasing people's anxiety, on top of worries about waiting times in Wales and the treatment backlog. It's never been more important for people living with cancer to get the urgent help they need."  

You can still donate to Whitegate Farm Livery & Training fundraising page via this link.

To find out more about Macmillan's Coffee Morning, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee. For comprehensive cancer information and support visit www.macmillan.org.uk