The recent Chepstow Military Race Day has been described as a huge success and enabled fundraisers for injured forces veterans to smash through the £200,000 barrier.
Held on November 18th at Chepstow Racecourse, the inaugural event proved enormously popular, with the crowds swelled by the generous free entry offered by Chepstow to all serving and past military personnel.
There were seven competitive races, with sponsorship from Viasat Inc. Spectra Plc, BATTLESPACE Publications, TVS, Hall & Watts, and Watkins & Gunn.
Each sponsor contributed to funds raised on behalf of three chosen military charities through race and table sponsorship.
The three charities were Combat Stress, The Royal Hospital Chelsea, and SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. In addition, there was a donation to a Ukrainian charity.
The day began with a formal opening of the event by General Sir James Everard, who rang the paddock bell alongside the team of Chelsea Pensioners.
The event was run in association with BATTLESPACE Publications, the driving force behind the first armed forces race day event nine years ago.
Julian Nettlefold, publisher of BATTLESPACE, said: “It was great to see how our sponsors, guests and the crowd responded to the auction and raffle.
“We are delighted to announce that £18,000 was raised for the charities – taking the total raised since I started the race day to over £200,000.
“As the son of a wounded veteran, I have seen how a loving wife can contribute to the well-being of a wounded veteran, making his life bearable.
“These forgotten people, like my mother, are left in the background when they should have full recognition for their long-suffering service to the veteran and his family.
“We were delighted that once again a group of uniformed Chelsea Pensioners attended and were given a rousing reception from the racegoers.”
The organisers were also grateful to the sponsors of the tables who also donated very generous auction and raffle prizes along with a number of guests and organisations such as Oxley Group Ltd., Richard Skan, Eton Collge, Supacat, The Jockey Club, Angus Gold, Jonjo O’Neil Racing, Gifford Golf Club, Lord Bellingham, SSAFA, Combat Stress, The Royal Hospital, Amey Briggs, The Queen’s Arms, Cohort Plc, Kathryn Clamp, NP Aerospace, Echodyne, David Harrison and others.
The sponsors were Alan Webb Ltd, Bertin Exensor, Briggs Defence, Canny Comms, Exail, Frazer-Nash, Hensoldt, Leidos, TekSeating and The Square.
Chepstow Racecourse executive director Phil Bell said: “Race meetings provide a great opportunity to raise money for charities and we were delighted to host this Military Race Day.
“It was a huge pleasure to work with The Chelsea Pensioners, Combat Stress and SSAFA.
“The work these charities do for our military is fantastic and we very much look forward to hosting the Military Race Day again on Friday 24th November 2023, when all serving and retired military can apply for free admission once again.”
Helen Fergie-McGowan, of SSAFA, said: “Chepstow Military Race Day was a resounding success.
“We would like to thank Julian Nettlefold, the team at Chepstow, and all who attended for helping to make it a day to remember.”
Rosie Gibbons, of Combat Stress, said: “We are extremely grateful to Chepstow Military Race Day for their very generous support – what a fantastic day!
“As the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health, we provide specialist treatment and support to veterans with complex mental health issues arising from military service.
“The money raised from the Race Day will help us to continue supporting thousands of former servicemen and women across the UK to rebuild their lives. Thank you to everyone involved.”
Emma Pollock, of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, said: “The Chelsea Pensioners really enjoyed their day at Chepstow and the Royal Hospital Chelsea is delighted with the generous donation from the race day.
“The money raised will help us to continue to care for our veterans, many who have complex needs, at their home, the Royal Hospital.
“Thank you to all those who attended and contributed to a fantastic day.”