From Jess Acheson:
I am running the Bath Half Marathon this year in aid of the charity Hannah’s Willberry the Wonder Pony.
As many of you know I am a professional event rider and in the course of my work with the Pony Club, had the pleasure to teach, help and become friends with a lovely young rider called Hannah Francis.
Hannah died last August, 15 months after being diagnosed with bone cancer.
Following her diagnosis on 1 May 2015, the 18-year-old wrote a blog of her experiences from the point of view of her cuddly toy pony, Willberry.
Hannah raised more than £115,000 through fundraising events and Willberry merchandise and in May 2016, she announced that Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony had been approved as a registered charity. All funds raised for the charity go towards bone cancer research and granting horsey wishes to those with serious illnesses.
Hannah was an inspiration, not only to me, but the whole equine community as she continued to ride throughout her illness while she continued with her chemotherapy.
At the beginning of 2016 Hannah set to make her lifelong ambition a reality: to compete at an international competition under the GB flag, and in June 2016 at Tattersalls International Horse Trials, and through enduring pain, Hannah did just that as she and her beloved mare Mavis completed a beautiful dressage test for the CCI2* guinea-pig ride. I then competed the nominated Willberry Wonder Pony , Tattsberry, round the CCI2* XC course to raise funds for the charity.
Afterwards Hannah wrote:
“Thanks to all the people so desperate to make little old me and Willberry happy, I’ve met my absolute idols and heroes, I’ve ridden horses who’s talent is out of this world and genuinely tried their hardest to look after me as if they knew just how weak and fragile I now am. I’ve had so many wonderful adventures, small and large, with my wonder pony, my family and my friends that lots of people must only be able to dream of.”
Poignantly in June, two months before Hannah died, she wrote on her blog that her biggest fear was being forgotten after she passed away – which prompted a social media hashtag #inspiredbyhannah to trend nationwide.
In December 2016 Hannah was posthumously awarded the Helen Rollason Inspiration Award at The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards for her charity work and inspirational battle against bone cancer.
Please help me raise as much money as possible to help continue the great work that Hannah started and that the Willberry Wonder Pony Charity continues in her memory by just clicking on this link to my Just Giving page.https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/JessicaAcheson
If you would like to learn more about Hannah’s Willberry the Wonder Pony charity here’s the link: https://www.willberrywonderpony.org/