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Two Contrasting Days In Scotland

Nestled close to the picturesque Scottish coastline, Ayr Racecourse welcomed me with open arms on Tuesday, a beacon of warmth and hospitality. From the moment I arrived, it was evident that this was a place where the spirit of community thrived. The staff, with their friendly smiles and eager assistance, made me feel right at home, setting the stage for what would be a memorable day. Ayr were the first racecourse from the first 29 that offered me a meal in the Owners & Trainers restaurant following my walk around the course! The walk was very educational as I went around with the Clerk of the Course, Graeme Anderson, who told me so much about his role and the different things the job entails and it was good to walk down the 6 furlong start, where the stalls open when the famous Ayr Gold Cup is run. The rain didn't dampen my enthusiasm.

Despite the smaller crowd in attendance, the generosity of the Scottish racegoers knew no bounds. As I made my rounds, sharing the story of my journey and the Dementia UK cause, that is so close to my heart, I was met with an outpouring of support. It was heartwarming to witness the spirit of camaraderie as racegoers dug deep into their pockets, contributing a remarkable £322.27 to the bucket collection. Their generosity spoke volumes, a testament to the kindness and compassion that runs deep within the Scottish racing community.

Then Ayr Racecourse showed even more support and generosity by allowing me to stay in their beautiful on course hotel, The Western House, overnight which was very well received as was the gorgeous Scottish breakfast the following morning before hitting the road to Perth. Well done Ayr and thank you as it was up their amongst the best experiences so far!

However, the highs of Ayr were quickly overshadowed by the disappointment that awaited me at stunning Perth Racecourse the following day. Despite my best efforts to engage with the management and promote the charity challenge, I was met with resistance. It was disheartening to be denied the opportunity to raise funds for such a worthy cause, especially in contrast to the warm reception I had received at Ayr. The inability to conduct a bucket collection left me feeling deflated, as if the wind had been knocked out of my sails. However I embarked on my walk around the course, amongst beautiful countryside, which was a very enjoyable experience.

I walked amongst the crowd, enjoyed the racing and bumped into former champion jockey, Brian Hughes and his biggest fan with his family. I was amazed at the little lad's enthusiasm for the sport and his knowledge of all things Brian Hughes. Thank you to the Wright family for allowing me to post this photo.

It's moments like these that serve as a stark reminder of the challenges we face in our quest to make a difference. Despite the setbacks and disappointments, I remain steadfast in my commitment to the Dementia UK cause. The unwavering support of those who have stood by me thus far fuels my determination to press on, undeterred by the obstacles that may lie ahead.

As I reflect on my time at Ayr Racecourse, I am reminded of the resilience and generosity of the human spirit. It is through moments like these, where communities come together in support of a common cause, that we find hope and inspiration. And while Perth may have left me disheartened, I am reminded that for every setback, there are countless opportunities to make a difference.

So, as I continue on my journey, I carry with me the lessons learned from both the highs and lows. For it is through adversity that we grow stronger, and it is through perseverance that we ultimately achieve our goals. And though the road ahead may be long and challenging, I remain hopeful that with the support of kind-hearted individuals and communities like those at Ayr, we can overcome any obstacle and make a meaningful impact in the fight against dementia.

Thank you to all who have supported me thus far, and here's to the journey ahead, filled with hope, resilience, and the unwavering belief that together we can make a difference.

Donations to the Just Giving Page can be made here which will add to the total of £6,754 that has been raised to date: Thank you for reading Graham Arnold 16th May 2024

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