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York Rotary held a Race Festival at York Novotel on Wednesday 21st February.  The evening was gifted to us by the Novotel as thanks for our use of the hotel during the last year.

The evening comprised Racing brought to us by Race Manager Tyrone, with eight races interspersed by a lovely buffet.

We invited members and guest to join the evening and as well as attending the evening there was also a chance to buy horses.  In addition sponsorship of races was provided by eight organisations as follows:

·         Barnitts - Barnitts Maiden Stakes

·         Browns York – Browns Handicap

·         Eborlight York – The Eborlight Gold Cup

·         Herbert Todd – Beautiful Kitchen Stakes

·         ABM Scaffoldng – ABM Scaffolding Chase

·         The Dringhouses Chase – Dringhouses Friends & Neighbours

·         The Bally Hell Sweepstake sponsored by Frogan’s Lame Donkey Sanctuary

·         Wm Birch – The Birch Tree stakes

It was suggested that those attending the Race Festival might like to dress appropriately for the races and people did not disappoint.  Many ladies wore fascinators, but it was perhaps the men who surprised more, as you can see from the photo, Frank was wearing a hat appropriate to the time when he started working!   Also Kevin and Jackie dressed very appropriately.

The racing was managed by Tyrone with Rotarians acting as on course bookies.  People were very generous with their support of the races.  The races were a variety of flat and jump races from several race courses, some of us even had fun trying to guess form the race preview the name of the race courses before they were announced.  The final race was a group of racing pigs who added to the variety and caused much amusement.

During the interval between races we enjoyed a lovely buffet meal.

As part of the event people were invited to buy race horses for each race and all 64 race horses were sold, in each race the owner of the winning horse won a bottle of champagne.  The names of the race horses and their owners were detailed on a colourful race card. Many of the horses had imaginative names, some examples were – Frank Paterson “Flying Scotsman”, it did not live up to the speed implied by the name however! Tom Jackson “Old Swinger”, again it did not perform as we had hoped.  Other examples of names were Mallard, Crikey Mikey, Cranidge’s Crime, Barry’s Blue Light and Toddy’s NEFF Oven (not sure how an oven can race but there we are!).

The evening was considered a great success and raised approximately £2,000 for our charity fund, though we hope that will rise to £2,700 on the basis that we should receive some third party matched funding.  It is not always easy to think of different events to hold, but this one raised money and judging by the reactions of those who attended they really enjoyed themselves .

 Thank you to all those who helped in various ways and to the generosity of the Novotel that enabled the evening to be held.

Sheila Weatherburn and David Fotheringham

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