Isle rider gets in the saddle for charity

Leanne Humphries, 42, of Belton.
Leanne Humphries, 42, of Belton.

An Isle woman has been selected to take part in a charity horse race.

Leanne Humphries, of Belton, will be getting in the saddle later this year to take part in the race, which will be in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support,

The race will take place at York Racecourse on June 13.

Leanne is racing in memory of her sister, Paula Stevenson, who died of ovarian cancer a month before her 34th birthday, 15 years ago.

“We were always there for each other even though we lived apart,” said Leanne.

“My nan, who I was very close to, had breast cancer twice too, and many other family members lost their life to cancer.

“I also have lots of friends who have lost their loved ones, from young and old, and I want to do something to support the charity.”

Leanne’s achievement has been made even more remarkable by the fact has also been in remission from systemic lupus erythematosus for 10 years after being diagnosed 23 years ago.

SLE is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in various parts of the body because the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.

The disease, which affects about 5 in 10,000 people in the UK, can affect the skin, joints and even internal organs such as the heart or kidney.

Leanne said: “For me to be fit enough to be able to do this is amazing.

“I’ll have to pass a fitness test, so I’ve started going to the gym and training lots with my trainer David Griffiths, who trains race horses at his stables at Mill Hall Farm, Bawtry.

“I think he’s hoping I’ll do quite well, but I’ll be happy just to get through it.”

Leanne will also be attending the Northern Racing College, Rossington, once a week to improve her skills.

The married mother-of-two added: “This is one of the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life, and it really is a once in a life time opportunity.

“I found out just before Christmas that I was one of 12 amateur riders selected to compete.

“It was a really lovely Christmas present, especially because the organisers said they have never had so many good entries.”

Leanne, who owns one horse and two ponies, is hoping to raise £5000 for Macmillan, stressing any donations would be gratefully received.

She has already raised £90 towards the cause.

The 42-year-old lived in York from the age of 13, just minutes away from the city racecourse.

She said her passion for horses comes from watching races there when she was young.

Leanne started to learn to ride when she was 25 years old although she has never competed in a race before.

“Race horses are highly strung horses, so riding them will be a completely different experience .

“People tend to think that you just sit there, but you don’t, horse riding is actually quite difficult and there’s lots of things involved,” she continued.#

To sponsor Leanne visit her www.justgiving.com/Leanne-Humphries page.

And, to follow her training progress, search Leanne Macmillans Charity Horserace on Facebook and future Bells coverage.