This Saturday, Doncaster Racecourse will welcome Richard Farquhar, the brave father of four who is walking 3,000 miles around the UK from racecourse to racecourse in an ambitious fundraising initiative called ‘Walking The Courses’.
His arrival at Doncaster will mark the end of a 45 mile walk from Market Rasen Racecourse, the latest stage of his charity pilgrimage.
Farquhar’s mission is to connect all sixty of Britain’s racecourses in a chain on foot. He was inspired to undertake this large-scale fundraising challenge after losing his father in 2012 to pancreatic cancer, the most vicious of all common cancers. As a lifelong racing fan, he decided he wanted to involve all of the nation’s racecourses. He is hoping that his marathon efforts will raise a huge £1.4million to be split equally between two charities that are very close to his heart, namely Pancreatic Cancer UK and Racing Welfare. The latter of these two charities looks after the mostly unseen army of staff who work with racehorses behind the scenes.
It is customary, upon arrival at each racecourse, for Farquhar to complete a lap of the track itself accompanied by supporters, racegoers and familiar faces from the racing world, thereby finishing each leg of his journey at the winning post. His Doncaster course walk, which begins at 12:30, will be different to all others, however, as he will be joined by a very special guest.
Last Thursday, 9-year-old fundraiser and budding jockey Jack Lander completed a 56 mile walk from Stratford Racecourse to Oaksey House in Lambourn in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund. Farquhar joined his younger counterpart on the first afternoon of his walk, in order to show support and pass on a few tips. On Saturday, Lander will be returning the favour by joining Farquhar at Doncaster for the course walk and for the afternoon’s racing.
Farquhar is over a third of the way through his project in terms of racecourses visited, having ticked off twenty-six of the sixty. By April 2016, upon arrival back at Newmarket having completed all of the walks, Farquhar hopes to be nearing his ambitious target of £1.4million, to have involved people from all across the UK in his challenge and partnered with some of the biggest corporates in the racing industry.
Farquhar’s fundraising total now sits around £150,000, including pledges; he has a long way to go yet. The exit bucket collection at Doncaster Racecourse on Monday will be in aid of Walking The Courses and racegoers are encouraged to give generously to Farquhar’s two extremely worthy but crucially underfunded beneficiaries.
Kieran Gallagher, Executive Director at Doncaster Racecourse, comments, “We are delighted to support both Richard and Jack with their charity challenges, both of which are for incredibly worthwhile causes. We hope that walking the course with them will act as a morale boost and that support from the people of Doncaster and South Yorkshire will help them reach their fundraising goals.”
To find out more about Walking The Courses, to donate and to get involved, visit Walking The Courses