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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opens Summerhill House in Newmarket

Summerhill House, Racing Welfare’s newest housing development, received a royal seal of approval today, Tuesday 12th November, when it was officially opened by the charity’s president Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Situated in Howard de Walden Way in Newmarket, Summerhill House has been designed to house Racing Welfare’s most vulnerable retired beneficiaries, many of whom have dedicated all of their working lives to the racing and breeding industries.  Costing £3.5m to construct, the property contains 21 two bedroom flats and has been built in accordance with the Lifetime Home standard, which sets out to allow people to remain living in their own homes for longer.  The development is fully wheelchair accessible and features assistive technology and 24 hour call monitoring, alongside CCTV security surveillance. 

Her Royal Highness was escorted on a tour of the building by William Barlow, the charity’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Chief Executive Dawn Goodfellow.  Her Royal Highness was shown into one of the flats and was informed about the key technological features of the building, meeting also some of the property’s new residents during her visit.  Local dignitaries joining Her Royal Highness as part of the touring party included Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk, Nick Wingfield Digby; Chairman of West Suffolk District Council, Councillor Brian Harvey; Mayor of Newmarket, Councillor Rachel Hood, and the Chief Constable, Mr Stephen Jupp.

The building’s name of Summerhill House comes from Summerhill Stud, the South African Thoroughbred breeding operation closely associated with Jim Joel.  Jim set up the Childwick Trust during his lifetime to administer his philanthropic interests, and in turn The Childwick Trust has become one of Racing Welfare’s most long standing and valued supporters. 

Summerhill House is Racing Welfare’s newest housing development, sitting within its portfolio of 164 units of accommodation across the country, and is managed by its housing arm Racing Homes.   The charity aims to provide quality, safe, affordable places to live for individuals at either end of the spectrum of their racing careers; that is, young people aged 16-24 years and those who have retired from the sport.  The charity has significantly increased its capital spend into the expansion and improvement of its housing stock, with investment rising from £152k in 2015 to the £3.5m required to complete Summerhill House this year.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive of Racing Welfare, said “It is an honour to have Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal with us today to officially open Summerhill House.  We are immensely proud of the project and were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness on a tour the building during of her visit.  The property embodies our objective to provide high quality accommodation for people who have given so much to the racing industry throughout their working lives.  I would like to express our most sincere thanks to all of Racing Welfare’s generous supporters who have made it possible for us to construct this wonderful building.”