28 March 2014
Charity rider Sharon Watt and her horse, Jewelled Dagger
A woman who faced cancer after breaking her back in a freak accident is taking on a new challenge to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Sharon Watt is set to fulfil a lifelong ambition when she takes part in a prestigious charity horse race in aid of Macmillan.
Sharon, who lives near Catterick in North Yorkshire, will be among the riders in the Macmillan Charity Race at York Racecourse. She is one of 12 amateur jockeys who have pledged to raise at least £2,500 for Macmillan to take part in the race, in front of an expected crowd of more than 20,000 people.
The charity race is the finale at Macmillan Charity Raceday on Saturday 14 June 2014. The annual event is into its 44th year and has raised more than £5.8 million for Macmillan over the years.
Sharon, 47, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005, five years after breaking her back when a horsebox ramp collapsed on top of her. Her injuries left her wheelchair-bound for six months but, after extensive rehabilitation, she has recovered to walk again.
Looking forward to taking part in the charity race, Sharon said: 'I have to train hard – I’m running three or four times a week at the moment to lose some weight. Following my accident, I have to work twice as hard to be half as fit. I just don’t have the strength that I used to.
'I’m extremely competitive and I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to win. I’ve always wanted to race. It’s going to be an incredible experience to do so in front of a big crowd at York and it’s all for such a good cause too.'
Macmillan Charity Raceday features a full programme of racing, with the charity race rounding off the event. The day will also feature charity auctions, a grand raffle and collections, all in aid of Macmillan.
Robyn Mountain-Wade, Macmillan special events manager, said: 'Racing at York in front of thousands of spectators will be an incredible experience for all the charity riders. We’re delighted they’ve signed up to take on this challenge and raise money for Macmillan. Overall, Raceday raised £380,000 for Macmillan last year – helping us fund our vital services to help make sure no one faces cancer alone. We’re hoping to raise a similar sum this year and hope people can support the event in any way they can – by attending, making a donation or providing sponsorship.'
Macmillan Charity Raceday is a collaboration between Macmillan and York Racecourse.
You can read more about all the charity riders, including details of how to sponsor them, here.