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Blank, Blank, Blank, Royalty Then Record!!

The past few days have been a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, with some tough times followed by unforgettable moments. Legs 50, 51, and 52 of my charity challenge at Market Rasen, York, and Thirsk, respectively, were particularly challenging. Unfortunately, due to these courses having other charity commitments on the day, I couldn't raise any money. The weather didn’t help either—Market Rasen was cold, wet, and downright miserable. York, a beautiful racecourse under normal circumstances, couldn’t shine its brightest for the big crowd due to the gloomy conditions. I was delighted to have good friend and keen supporter of what I am doing, Stuart Lewis with me at York and Thirsk. It is really nice to see a friendly face as sometimes it can be quite quite lonely.

Market Rasen:



After these tough days, I had a few days off to regroup and recharge. I picked up Julie from the airport, and we drove down south to stay with our friends Derek and Jenny. This short break was much needed and set the stage for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: attending the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot.

The traditions of Royal Ascot are a sight to behold. From the morning suits and top hats to the ceremonial aspects, it’s an event steeped in history and elegance. Unfortunately, the King was not in attendance, but the Prince of Wales, William, graced us with his presence.

The day was fabulous, and finally, we were blessed with perfect weather. I owe a huge thank you to Chris Broad for the invitation and his wife Sharon for organizing the pre- and post-racing picnic. It was also wonderful to reconnect with friends James Broad and Mark Goulding, whom I hadn’t seen in about 30 years. The day was unforgettable, and although it was on my itinerary, I couldn’t do any promotion or course walking. However, we did set foot on the course, which was a special moment.

The very next day, I drove to Chelmsford City for their biggest event of the year, Ladies Day. The atmosphere was electric with a huge crowd, further boosted by performances from Jackie Graham and Denise Van Outen. I was welcomed warmly and given the opportunity to promote and collect donations, which was incredible on such a significant day. A massive shout out to Jo Flaherty for orchestrating my visit. Jo's coordination and support ensured that I was able to engage with racegoers effectively, making a significant impact on the day's fundraising. Thanks to the generous Essex racegoers, I raised a record amount of £615.80 in one day, surpassing all previous collections.

Here is a video that Jo took of me walking the course, the 54th course!

Not long left...

Looking ahead, there are only five courses left to visit, starting with Haydock later today, with the challenge culminating on June 26th at Worcester. If I’m going to get close to my target of £20,000 raised for Dementia UK, online donations will be crucial. The final stretch of this journey is upon us, and every contribution counts more than ever. So, if any family or friends are reading this and haven’t yet donated, please do so. Your support is vital, and together, we can make a difference.

Thank you for all your support so far!

Graham Arnold

22nd June

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