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Nine-year-old racing fan appointed Racing Welfare ambassador after raising more than £12,500 in a trio of challenges

Young racing fan, nine-year-old Freja Thackray from Ripon, North Yorkshire has been appointed an official ambassador for Racing Welfare after raising more than £12,500 in total fundraised income.

Having previously raised more than £9,000 through two sponsored runs, she upped the ante in 2022 with a triathlon challenge, which involved covering 194 miles – the equivalent distance of Aintree to Ascot – through running, cycling and swimming. She started her challenge during Cheltenham Festival in March and completed her final mile on Friday 17 June.

In recognition of her ongoing support, Freja will be presented with a certificate, badge and branded clothing at Royal Ascot on Saturday 18 June, marking her appointment as an official Racing Welfare ambassador.

Freja clocked up her miles at various racecourses including Cheltenham, Aintree, Pontefract, Beverley, and York. She was joined on the track at York on Sunday 22 May by jockeys Duran Fentiman and Silvestre De Sousa who ran part of the track with her to show their support. She also visited a number of training yards along the way.

Dawn Goodfellow, Chief Executive at Racing Welfare said: “We are delighted to welcome Freja as an official ambassador – it was a unanimous decision from everyone at Racing Welfare. Her dedication to her challenges has been outstanding, raising a huge amount of money in the process which will help us to provide vital support to racing’s people when they need us most. She’s a great role model for the next generation of racing fans. Thank you Freja!”

Freja said: “I’m really proud to be appointed as an official ambassador. I’m really looking forward to raising awareness of what Racing Welfare do and how they can help many different people. And if I can encourage anyone my age to take an interest in racing then that would be great too.”

To put it into context, the funds Freja has raised through her various challenges collectively could cover all the costs of employing a Welfare Officer for three months, providing direct support to beneficiaries so that Racing Welfare can be there for all of racing’s people. The charity provides support to the racing industry on a number of issues, whether that be for mental or physical health, housing, money matters, retirement or management support.

To support Freja with her challenge you can donate to her JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mary-thackray1

Anyone working in or retired from the racing industry can get support 24/7 at racingwelfare.co.uk or by calling Racing’s Support Line on 0800 6300 443. It’s free to use and completely confidential.