• Christine Keate

Charlotte Dujardin CBE, helps fundraising challenge to support brain tumour research

Rory Gilsenan, a hugely respected show horse producer, HOYS champion and working hunter competitor, passed away in April 2020 – 2 years after being diagnosed with an aggressive and incurable brain tumour. A year later, his family, fans and friends, including Charlotte Dujardin CBE, Britain’s most successful dressage rider, are raising funds for Brain Tumour Research. Charlotte has appealed on Facebook to recruit individuals and teams to take part in The Lockdown Lollop, set to take place on Friday 2nd April.

Behind the fundraising challenge is Buckinghamshire stud owner Sharon Mynard, who completed a wheelchair marathon last July for Brain Tumour Research in Rory’s memory. Sharon was paralysed in a riding accident as a teenager and Rory often rode her horses, taking her horse Dexter’s Puzzle to the HOYS a couple of times.

charlotte dujardin, the horse hub
Sharon Mynard

Sharon said: “Mindful of COVID-19 restrictions, the Lockdown Lollop invites people to complete a 10-mile route of their choice, either by walking, running, cycling, horse-riding, scootering, or even rowing, in fact any method of travelling, as long as it doesn’t involve a motor vehicle. The idea is to have lots of fun while raising funds for a serious cause.”

Charlotte, who kept her horses at Rory’s yard as a teenager and became a close friend, said in a recent Facebook post: “My best friend Ian Cast and I will be taking part in the Lockdown Lollop to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research in memory of Rory Gilsenan and we invite you all to join in.” She added: “Sharon has known me and my family from a very young age through horses and the showing world and asked if we would take part and of course we didn’t hesitate.”

Also taking part is 17-year-old brain tumour patient and Buckingham School student, Lily Hawkins who lives in Dadford, near Buckingham. Lily, who will be riding her pony Jester, said: “As soon as I heard about The Lockdown Lollop in memory of Rory I had to get involved. Much more research is needed to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure.”

Rory was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour in 2018 just weeks after his first win at the prestigious HOYS. Despite surgery and treatment, nothing could save him. The average survival prognosis for this type of tumour is 12 to1 8 months.

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research said: “We are really grateful to Sharon for her continued support after her successful Pushathon last year, which raised more than £12,000.

“It’s so touching that people are coming together in memory of Rory, having some fun and raising money to fund sustainable research that will bring us closer to a cure for brain tumours. Just 12% of brain tumour patients survive beyond five years whereas, for cancers such as breast and leukaemia, the figures are 70% and 40% respectively because of greater investment for research in those areas."

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure.

To register for the event or to donate to a team visit: www.justgiving.com/team/thelockdownlollop


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