Breast Cancer the spur for Meregan's Charity race ride Monday 1 August
PUBLISHED: 16:23 22 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:44 20 February 2013
Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ultimate Ladies Night at Carlisle Racecourse on Monday Evening 1 August. This fixture is also a world first, as all six races as well as the charity race will be confined to lady only Jockeys.
Breast Cancer the spur for Meregans Charity race ride at the Carlisles Ultimate Ladies Night Monday 1 August
Meregan Norwood, of Lambourn Berkshire, is hoping to raise over 20,000 for charities Breast Cancer Care and the Breast Cancer Campaign, when she takes part in a charity race ride at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ultimate Ladies Night at Carlisle Racecourse on Monday Evening 1 August. This fixture is also a world first, as all six races as well as the charity race will be confined to lady only Jockeys.
Two years ago Meregan 65 years young, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following a lumpectomy, then a second operation to remove her lymph glands, a long course of chemotherapy, which left her feeling dreadful then finally radiology, Meregan was given the all clear that the cancer had left her body.
In the circumstances, you might expect Meregan to be rattling a collection box as racegoers come through the turnstiles on the 1st of August. Not a bit of it. Shell be riding in the evenings first race, a charity event for lady riders, with Lancashire trainer Alan Berry generously guaranteeing Royal Blade for the event, who duly won at Ayr on Monday under female Jockey Julie Burke.
At a press morning at Alan Berrys yard in Cockerham, Lancaster on Wednesday, Meregan gave Royal Blade a final spin on the gallops in preparation for their charity race next month.
Trainer, Alan Berry commented We are delighted to be supporting Meregan and two such worthwhile causes. Royal Blade is well in himself and won on his last outing and the pair should both have a fun time on the night.
As well as all the races being confined the lady Jockeys, a celebration of ladies fashion will be a highlight off the track as well as Alexandra Burke of 2008 XFactor fame bringing the curtain down with a live performance for racegoers.
Richard Clements, General Manager of Carlisle Racecourse commented We hope this unique fixture will highlight the talent in amongst the lady Jockey ranks, whilst providing competitive and engaging racing. The fixture is already proving popular as sales are already 1000 up on last years figure and with the charity race and fundraising activities we hope to raise significant funds for Breast Cancer Care and the Breast Cancer Campaign.
If Meregans plan seems ambitious, she has done it before. Meregan had follow-up radiology treatment at the end of 2009 and over that Christmas, she made up her mind to ride in a charity race at Newbury Racecourse in June and was delighted when an offer of a ride came her way, a horse named The Boat Shed, provided by trainer Brendan Duke.
Just six months after completing her final course of radiology, Meregan and The Boat Shed made their racing debut at the Berkshire track. In a competitive run race, they didnt trouble the Newbury judge, finishing in eighth place, but more importantly the pair raised over 10,000 for the Spinal Injuries Association and 10,000 more for Meregan's nominated charity, Against Breast Cancer.
When it comes to horses, Meregan is no beginner. For many years she was a professional show-jumper and it was horseracing that gave her a focus when her life took a turn for the worse.
You have to remind yourself that when undergoing chemotherapy feeling terrible is good; that its part of the solution, not the problem. So I forced myself to keep active, by cycling for a mile every day. When the chemo finished, I was just fit enough to get on a horse and not fall off. Staying active helped me emotionally, too. I wasnt going to surrender to cancer. Riding and remaining active out lifted my spirits.
Meregan already has 10,000 pledged to her for her ride at Carlisle on 1 August and is spending endless hours at the gym and riding out in preparation for her race ride next month. Shes superstitious about setting targets, but, I hope to beat my Newbury 20,000. In the UK alone someone is diagnosed with breast cancer every 11 minutes but thanks to the fantastic treatment that I received, survival rates are going up all the time.
Breast Cancer Care and the Breast Cancer Campaign are two of the charities doing amazing work. Whatever the racing community and everyone else donates for my ride will be split equally between the two.
Tickets to the Ultimate Ladies Night at Carlisle racecourse on Monday 1 August start from 13.60, which includes the racing and concert. Visit www.carlisle-races.co.uk
or call 0844 579 3002 for information and tickets. Dining and hospitality is also available call 01228 554700 for more information.