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Around the Courses in 80 Days Challenge: Latest Adventures at Sandown Park, Goodwood, and Salisbury

Hey everyone! I’m back with another update on my "Around the Courses in 80 Days" challenge for Dementia UK. This journey continues to be filled with incredible experiences, generous people, and beautiful racecourses. Here’s a detailed look at my recent visits to Sandown Park, Goodwood, and Salisbury.

Leg 35: Sandown Park

Sandown Park is one of my all-time favorite courses, and it was an absolute joy to be back. A good friend joined me for the day, which made the experience even more special. Initially, we thought we wouldn't be able to bucket collect, but after some persistence, we finally got permission. The racegoers were incredibly generous, and we raised an amazing £408.11! Walking around Sandown was a privilege, especially seeing the famous Railway Fences and the Pond Fence up close. The course is renowned for its iconic races, including the Eclipse on the flat, and the Tingle Creek and Bet365 (which I still fondly call the Whitbread) over jumps.

However, one thing that came up repeatedly in conversations with the public was the high cost of food and drinks. £7.95 for a pint is just too expensive and doesn’t encourage people to come back. If racecourses want to attract new fans and ensure they have a great day out, they need to reconsider their pricing strategies. It’s something that needs addressing if we want more people to get into the sport and return for future events.

Leg 36: Goodwood

The next day, I headed to Goodwood, and it was nothing short of spectacular. The course was bathed in sunshine, showing off its glorious best. I knew in advance that bucket collections weren’t allowed here, so I spent the day enjoying the races as a regular racegoer. Walking around Goodwood with its various loops, turns, and slopes was a real treat. The atmosphere was fabulous, and everyone seemed to be having the best time. I was so impressed by Goodwood that I’ve already decided I’ll be bringing my wife here soon for a day out.

Leg 37: Salisbury

Finally, I made my way to Salisbury, a course I hadn’t visited in about thirty years since my sister Joanne lived in this beautiful city. I was initially told I couldn’t collect donations as they don’t allow collections on Saturdays. This struck me as an odd policy, so I decided to take action. During the racing, I tracked down the Clerk of the Course, Jeremy Martin, to express my disappointment. After meeting me and hearing about my challenge, he granted me permission to collect at one of the exits. Thanks to his support, I raised £247.06! This wouldn’t have been possible without Jeremy being behind the challenge, so a huge thank you to him. The racegoers at Salisbury were very friendly, and I thoroughly enjoyed the vibe of a Saturday evening’s racing in the Wiltshire countryside.

The Importance of Online Donations

As I enter the final third of this challenge, online donations are becoming more vital than ever. If you haven’t donated yet but intend to, please do so as soon as possible. Seeing the amount collected on the Just Giving page really boosts my morale and momentum. Dementia UK is a wonderful cause, providing essential support to families affected by this awful condition. Your donations make a real difference in their lives.

Thank you so much for your continued support and for following my journey. Every donation, no matter the size, helps us get closer to making a significant impact for Dementia UK. Here’s to the next leg of the adventure!

Cheers, Graham

26th May 2024

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