About Breast Cancer Hope
Who we are
“ Breast Cancer Hope is dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of life in women diagnosed with breast cancer, through funding high quality research in the fields of basic science, prevention, early detection and the treatment of breast cancer.”
Gaynor Lewis, Breast Cancer Hope’s first “patient” trustee, adds:
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
1. Breast Cancer Hope is the brainchild of Graham Oldfield & Sue Collins. Graham having had a successful career as a lead driver in the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, a British Horse Society Inspector, competitor and dressage judge along with Sue who had successfully managed a thriving high classed livery yard whilst competing in all three disciplines decided to concentrate purely on the thoroughbred ex-racehorse. It was in 1996 when the great “Moorcroft Boy” was gifted to Graham that the decision was made by him and Sue create “The Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre”. This venture grew rapidly and under their guidance over 100 horses were successfully re-homed during the ten years that followed and a reputation was created that was second to none, on leaving this charity was on a first class footing and capable of standing on its own two feet. One of the reasons for leaving “Moorcroft” was frustration, in the respect that continual financial pressure meant that targets had to be met and in meeting these targets it meant that those horses that needed time to adjust had to be avoided, this played on their minds a great deal and lead them on to create a facility where time wasn’t the main factor and attention could be paid to the detail and expertise needed to tend those horses who are not so straight forward but still deserve the chance. This was a huge risk to take on but having been through this once before they were a great deal wiser and with all the best intentions in the world they were fully aware that they simply couldn’t do it alone.
After a great deal of thought three very close friends were contacted and the plan explained to them, the enthusiastic feed back received was more than enough to take the plunge and set about creating the “Racehorse Sanctuary”. One of the three people involved with Graham and Sue is Colin Passmore, a very successful businessman who has his feet well and truly on the ground and has the where with all to make sound financial and business decisions. Colin has great vision for the future and the type of man that can see well beyond the problems that we are facing at present and is continually working on eliminating those that are likely to occur in the future. Another is Colin’s wife Pauline, and avid racing fan who is absolutely passionate about racehorse welfare and what happens to these creatures when their racing days are over. Pauline is tireless in her work toward this cause hence living in Dorset isn’t a hindrance, she is non stop with fund raising efforts and generally organising help for the sanctuary. The third and final to come on board in this venture is Debbie Bonham who lives in West Sussex and has two ex-racehorses in her care. Debbie’s brother John Bonham was the legendary drummer of Led Zeplin before he tragically lost his life at an early age and she has followed in his footsteps very successfully building a career as a rock singer around the world. As with all involved with this venture Debbie’s ambition is centred around securing a future for all of those horses that still have so much to offer even though their racing career’s have come to an end. Those mentioned along with Graham and Sue form the core of our directors; we also have a patron in Julie Routledge-Martin. Julie owns many racehorses and also breeds for the sport, she has been hugely instrumental and involved with making this venture possible and continues on a daily basis to both promote and support our cause. Whilst even at this early stage there are many people helping in many different ways there two more special people involved those being Gaynor Renwick, a racehorse owner who co-ordinates and promotes our support group and Lee-Ann Day who also owns racehorses and has and continues to put in a lot of time and effort into promoting the sanctuary.
2. There are three centres across the country re-schooling and re-homing thoroughbred ex-racehorses, all do an excellent and essential job under very difficult circumstances. Carrie Humble MBE is the original pioneer in this field with the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre and was and still is not only a true friend of Graham and Sue’s but very instrumental in helping them set “Moorcroft” and making it so successful. Carrie is very much behind Graham and Sue with their new venture and has offered backing when and where ever possible to help make it a success. Michael and Helen Yeadon of Greatwood Caring for Retired Racehorses is the second centre and like Carrie they too are great friends of both Graham and Sue and are equally keen to be involved with the sanctuary and work alongside it. Moorcroft is the third.
As stated all three of these centres are under extreme pressure to re-home as many horses as possible in as shorter time as possible. It is due to this problem that this sanctuary is very much needed if not essential. There are between 4000 and 5000 horses leaving the racing industry annually, the majority of which are quite straight forward and make the transition to becoming a riding horse with ease, however, it is the horses that find it difficult that need the facility that Breast Cancer Hope offers. So many of these super horses could have a happy and in most cases productive lives ahead of them if they were given the time and expertise needed. It has to be said that if any horse entering this system is a danger to any member of the public or itself then it will remain at the sanctuary ongoing, alternatively if the problem can be resolved it will then be found a suitable home on a permanent loan basis. However if the horse is in any form of distress that cannot be remedied by our veterinary surgeon or team then it will be humanely destroyed. A huge amount of horses leaving the industry are now catered for by the existing centres, Breast Cancer Hope is here to cater for those that we are told have no future under the current system.
3. When a trainer, owner or head of a syndicate finds themselves in a position where they are no longer able to keep a horse for varying reasons, the most common being either: the horse isn’t going to win races hence the stable is needed for one that is more likely to, the horse has been retired due to some form of injury or it is proving to expensive for some members hence the syndicate has to be resolved, this is the time the sanctuary steps in and provides a lifeline for the unfortunate animal. Another common situation is where an unsuspecting member of the public has purchased a good looking horse from one of the sales rings only to find when returning home that the animal is completely unmanageable and dangerous, they don’t want to sell it on though fear of the same thing happening over again and yet they are stuck with a horse that they are frightened to go near and as for getting on its back this would be out of the question.
When a new arrival turns up at the sanctuary the first thing that will happen is that he will be thoroughly examined by the equine veterinary surgeon and between the vet, Graham and Sue a course of treatment will be decided upon in order to return the horse to good health if this is an issue. Having completed his period in isolation during which his diet will have gradually be changed and his general attitude will have been assessed he will then subject to soundness be put into light work starting with lunging following on to being ridden. Those horses with very long-term injuries will be given the treatment and time needed to make a full recovery and should the horse still be unsuitable for ridden work at the end of this then a suitable home as a companion will be sought. Those who do have a future as riding horses will also be found suitable homes as either hacks or if capable competition horses. When it is decided that a horse has completed its recuperation/re-schooling process selected people who are looking for a particular type of horse are invited to come to the sanctuary to be assessed as to their suitability. If it is decided that this is the right person for a horse then a very stringent home inspection is then carried out and subject to passing this then the horse is placed on permanent loan to the applicant.
After care from the sanctuary then continues by way of unannounced welfare visits and advising on any problems that may occur. Should the keepers situation change in any respect causing problems with the standard of care being offered to the horse then it will be immediately reclaimed and returned to the sanctuary. Many problems encountered by ex-racehorses are not necessarily due to health but to physiological reasons and these cannot be cured overnight, they take time, patience and expertise. Equally, having done the groundwork and found the route of the problem and in most cases cured it all of this work can so easily be undone in the wrong hands which is why we are so meticulous in choosing which member of the public to take on one of the sanctuary horses.
4. Breast Cancer Hope is completely self funded and relies purely on the generosity of those people who like us believe that these wonderful creatures more than deserve to chance out live out their lives in comfort. In order that the sanctuary can carry out its work and maintain the policies and standards that it set out with it has been decided to say no to any form of governing body that may mean compromise on these issues. Of course the additional funding would ease the financial pressure a great deal particularly in the early years but at what cost. This is why we are confident that in the knowledge that every penny given to this cause goes either directly or indirectly to the horses involved the support is there.
5.There are many ways in which you can help Breast Cancer Hope and none are too small. Probably the best way to support is to join our very active support group where members make monthly direct debit payments and in return receive quarterly newsletters updating them on the progress of the horses currently at the sanctuary, invitations to various fund raising events and planned outings. Alternatively, we are continually looking for stable sponsorship, event sponsorship and horse adoption. Or, why not organise an event yourself with the proceeds being donated to the sanctuary, these can range from coffee mornings to boot sales to sponsored runs or anything that you feel may raise the much needed funds to keep the sanctuary afloat. You can also secure the long-term future of Breast Cancer Hope by way of leaving a legacy or bequest in your will. These horses are relying on you to make their futures secure.