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Hilary’s Story – Volunteering

Hilary Lewis is a stalwart of the volunteering world having given up her time during the global pandemic to make weekly check-in and chat calls to those in racing who struggle with loneliness and isolation.

A keen racegoer and racehorse owner with Fergal O’Brien, Hilary is motivated by helping those who work tirelessly in the racing community. She was keen to get involved with this year’s Malton Open Day which returned after going virtual in 2020 due to lockdown. She says:

“I do the check-in and chat support already so when I saw that Racing Welfare were looking for volunteers I thought it would be a good thing to do as well as interesting so that was my main reason for signing up.

“I’ve not done the Malton Open Day before as we don’t live anywhere near Malton so this was my first time there. I really enjoyed the morning when everyone was arriving at Mick Easterby’s yard and helping out there. Chatting to all the people as they were coming in was the best part.”

People were in high spirits and turned out in force for the open day with over 1,000 people visiting yards and enjoying afternoon activities. The Easterbys, famous for their joviality, were in their usual fine form. Hilary recalls:

“Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and obviously being at the Easterby’s was entertaining – they’re characters as everybody knows.

“It was also nice to see a different part of the racing industry because I’ve never been to any of the yards in Malton, it’s always the Cheltenham yards I have been to.

“My main hobby is racing and owning horses, it feels like we’re the ones taking a lot being the owners so it’s nice to do the reverse. I’ve taken early retirement, it’s great to do something as I used to do a lot of work supporting people and coaching so it’s a similar feeling, you feel like you’re helping people. I also feel like I’m utilising the skills I have as well instead of not doing anything. I would definitely volunteer at Malton again.”

If you are interested in volunteering for Racing Welfare, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Jen Gates –  jgates@racingwelfare.co.uk