West Sussex trail hunting community raises thousands for local charities


A trail hunt in West Sussex has helped to raise almost £9,000 for local charities in the past 12 months, with more fundraising planned for early next year.

The funds were raised by ‘The Cowdray Sponsored Ride’ which saw 170 people ride a 10-mile course in Midhurst, with help from members of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt and the Downland Scout Active Support Unit (part of Chichester District Scouts). The Sponsored Ride has been running for over two decades and has become an annual fixture for many, with participants from the local area and further afield.

From the event, the hunting group donated £4,200 to Midhurst Palliative Care and £4,200 to the Scouts. A presentation took place at the local Scout Hut where all parties received their donations.

Pippa Griffin who participated in the sponsored ride, said: “Thank you so much to everyone who made this ride happen. It was fantastic as ever – the going was super – thanks so much for organising and stewarding and directing us all!”

Trish Morley, Joint Master of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt, said: “We are very proud to help raise money for charity every year. It was great to see everyone come together for the sponsored ride, which was so well organised by the Cowdray Sponsored Ride Team, and this year in

particular we had so many young people joining us. Thank you to all the competitors, volunteers, sponsors, and everyone else that helped to make this event possible.”

Emma Harrison, Fundraising Manager, Midhurst Palliative Care funding the Midhurst Macmillan Service, said: “We are at Midhurst Macmillan are very grateful for the longstanding support and generosity of the Cowdray Sponsored Ride organisers and participating organisations. It was great to see the amazing contribution from so many young riders this year too. The Midhurst Macmillan Service is now part-funded by our own independent charity so to have this support from such an important local event is even more vital and helps to keep Midhurst Macmillan at the heart of our community.”

In addition to this, the Hunt has raised £300 for Cardiac Risk in the Young, a charity which provides free heart scans for under 35’s to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). This charity has been widely supported by the trail hunting community and in particular Andrew Osborne, former Master of Foxhounds with the Bedale Hunt, who rowed the Atlantic in memory of his daughter Amy, who died in her sleep at the age of 25 from an undiagnosed heart condition. To date, over 1,000 people who donated to Amy’s fund have helped raise nearly £200,000.

Trish Morley added: “Andrew spoke at our Opening Meet Supper in 2019 and having met him and listened to his story we were compelled to support his incredible row.”

On 19 January, Henry Dallal who regularly photographed the Late Queen will give a talk about his photographic experiences and opportunities worldwide. The money raised from the event will be donated to the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance.

Trish Morley said: “We are so proud to support the Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance and the invaluable work they do. Like other hunts across the country, this donation exemplifies our ongoing commitment to the air ambulance service, and we are immensely grateful for the service they provide.

“The fact that the air ambulance can land almost anywhere if you were to need it is a huge comfort to those who hunt or ride horses in the local area. It is a charity we have therefore supported for many years, and this is just a small thank you for the work they do in keeping our communities safe.”

The Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance is a life-saving rapid response charity, serving the south and south east of England. The organisation is not funded and relies on fundraising to operate and help save lives across West Sussex.

The Leconfield Hunt was formed in 1773, and this year is celebrating its Semiquincentennial (250 years) anniversary. The Leconfield Hunt amalgamated in the 1941-42 season with the Chiddingfold Hunt, and in 1973 the Chiddingfold & Leconfield merged with the Cowdray Hunt, to form the Chiddingfold, Leconfield & Cowdray Hunt.

Across England’s trail hunting community, more than £430,000 for 92 charities has been raised during the course of the last season, from November 2022 to May 2023.


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