Wincanton Racecourse charity picnic

11th September 2015

Wincanton Racecourse charity picnic at Salisbury Hospital

Last season Wincanton Racecourse Chairman Jo Hepburn set up a Charity Committee to strengthen the racecourse’s links with the local community. And, following an online customer vote The Southern Spinal Injuries Trust (SSIT) was appointed the course’s charity partner for the next two seasons.

Taking advice from the RCA, Wincanton Racecourse became involved with the Business In The Community’s ‘Give and Gain Day’ initiative and decided to volunteer their time for chairty. This brought about a trip to the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre at Salisbury Hospital, who The Southern Spinal Injuries Trust (SSIT) work closely with. Sally Moger from SSIT assisted Katherine Dalgety from Wincanton Racecourse with the brief and planning for a successful and enjoyable afternoon at the treatment centre. Due to the severity of the patients conditions the racecourse was encouraged to provide entertainment or light relief, given that the patients experience significant periods in their wards.

A delicious picnic was kindly donated by local supplier Mortimer’s Bakery based in Yeovil. And with thanks to the racecourse’s head chef Paul Holliday, over thirty patients and hospital staff enjoyed an array of scrumptious delights. Packed in picnic hampers donated by Virginia Hayward Hampers based in Shaftsbury – the day became a true regional effort. The picnic took place outside in Horatio’s Garden which is a separate charity that builds beautiful gardens for patients at NHS spinal treatment centres.

The Wincanton Racecourse picnic team comprised of team leader Katherine Dalgety, Jo Hepburn (Chairman), Nick Marchant (Jockey Club Catering), Ruth Whitcombe (Jockey Club Catering), Tony Raison (Ground staff), and Hannah Walker (PR) with her two children Kitty and Hugo dressed in their Shetland pony grand national racing attire! Racing props (saddles), photos of the racecourse and The Jockey Club films were shown to the patients to highlight the sport and on course facilities. Wheelchair tennis was going on next to the garden and the mini jockeys acting as ball boys gave patients many laughs.

The sun shone and the day was a truly humbling experience for all those involved.

Next month Wincanton Racecourse holds their Charity Raceday on Sunday 25th October where they will continue their association with SSIT with the first ever on course Side Saddle race. The fund raising race will involve ten female riders from across the nation in a 1m 2f dash dressed in their traditional Side Saddle dress. To complement the race, the charity will host a luncheon in Wincanton’s Paddock Pavilion for which tickets are available from the SSIT website – tickets are £75 per person, for more information please visit t he SSIT website here. The Wincanton season starts on Friday 16th October with their Under Starters Order raceday.

Full information on tickets and details of the day can be found online at