Updates

Newsletter No. 4 – May 2017

It has been a busy six months for Allegra’s Ambition and we are very grateful to all of you for your continued interest and amazing support.

From Allegra

We are delighted that we have identified a number of projects that fit with our aims and criteria that will be delivered by our partner charities.  All the initiatives we are supporting benefit the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in our communities and they all have a focus on engagement with sport and/or nature as part of the remit.

We are continuing to work with Ebony (http://www.ebonyhorseclub.org.uk) – a riding centre in Brixton.

In February, we were invited there to meet HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, Ebony’s President, who was visiting the Club and of course Allegra’s Paddock.  It was a very special day.

Building on the success of last year’s event, we are repeating our Ebony Day on Monday July 24 at Herriard Park. We couldn’t host it without the support of Hampshire Hunt Pony Club and so many of you who donate your time, energy & ponies.

Allegra’s Ambition Athletics Day – In April, we sponsored an athletics taster day at the King’s Park Stadium in Bournemouth. Initiated by Ian Kennedy of Wimborne Athletics & organised by Allegra’s aunt, Georgina – children from secondary schools in the local area attended to find out more about athletics and try out different disciplines. We were incredibly lucky to have Rachel Morris, a double gold medal winning Paralympic athlete (in 2 different disciplines) join us for the day. She brought her medals for everyone to feel & admire & gave an inspiring talk to us. Thanks to everyone who helped especially Hayley Gaj – who taught Allegra at St Swithun’s – and Allegra’s fabulous friends who joined us bringing their energy and enthusiasm as well as all the athletics coaches & sports students from Bournemouth University.

CHICKS – Country Holidays for Inner City Kids (http://chicks.org.uk).  We are very excited to be funding an Allegra’s Ambition week in July at CHICKS providing a holiday for sixteen Hampshire children at one of their amazing centres.  The holidays are run by a team of experienced youth workers with additional support from a number of volunteers.  We are thrilled, in addition, that some of Allegra’s friends have volunteered for Allegra’s week and look forward to hearing all about it.

Volunteering at CHICKS is open to everyone over the age of 18 – a week’s volunteering is 5 days & 4 nights & qualifies for DofE – no skill or training is required. 

Youth Options (http://www.youthoptions.co.uk) is a Hampshire based charity that run a number of projects that support Hampshire’s most vulnerable young people.

We have sponsored the training of four youth workers and provided the equipment to enable them to deliver a creative Bushcraft skills programme for young people at their new Riverside project.  Allegra would have loved it.

Carneys (http://carneyscommunity.org) – The recent success of Anthony Joshua is a reminder of the transformative power of sport, in his case boxing.

We have partnered with the inspirational boxing charity Carneys, who work with at risk and vulnerable young people in South London, to enable them to promote their club at a number of outreach community events to raise their profile and encourage as many young people to come along and participate as possible.  Maybe there will be a future Olympian among them.

These partnerships are just a beginning and made possible by your generosity.

For Allegra

Huge thanks to everyone who has been involved with any aspect of Allegra’s Ambition over the last few months.

Your support means so much to us and to our family.  As always many have gone above and beyond and we value every contribution big or small – volunteering, participating, coming up with ideas, fundraising etc.

We are so proud and grateful to:

  • Vere Whittome, Ali Revell and Kit Robathan for running the Blackpool Marathon and to Georgie Revell who ran the London Marathon on the same day.  Georgie reported that she thought of Allegra every step of the way and that it kept her going.  It was an incredible feat by you all…..bet you can’t wait to do it again next year!
  • Max and Grace Joliffe – Allegra’s young cousins who ran their first 5k & 10k respectively & were supported & sponsored by family & friends.
  • Ruth Warwick, who looked after Allegra when she was young, and has so generously embraced Allegra’s Ambition, fundraising for the second year, this time taking part in Glasgow’s KiltWalk in a fetching pink kilt.
  • Jack Polhill, Madeline Goodlad, Dan Makharinksy and their friends who raised £1,600 at Edinburgh rag week hitchhiking to Paris.
  • Lucy Schryver, a friend from the HH Pony Club, cut off 14 inches of her hair for the Little Princess Trust & raised an incredible £561 in sponsorship.
  • Honor who raised £13.50 selling Allegra’s Ambition wristbands – if anyone would like wristbands please get in touch.
  • Honor’s friends Anna and Holly who so thoughtfully and generously donated their pocket money.
  • Julie Montagu – organic food writer and yoga teacher extraordinaire – who organised a fantastic Pink Ladies Grease yoga night at Triyoga.
  • Hattie Lees at Sherborne School for Girls raised £130 from selling house trackie bums in Reader Harris. • Winchester College has raised almost £1,500 for Allegra’s Ambition during this year.
  • The Marmalade Nursery Schools in London has adopted Allegra’s Ambition as their charity for this year & we have been stunned by the generosity of this parent community.    

    About Allegra

Allegra would be leaving St Swithun’s this June. Her optimism, energy and enthusiasm meant Allegra never turned down the chance to try a new experience or challenge. To honour her memory this month St Swithun’s have asked girls and their parents to challenge themselves, to do something different, something new, something difficult to #livelikeleggs.  We would love it if as many of you as possible try this yourselves and let us know how you get on. There is a new bench to remember Allegra in the Cathedral Close in Winchester.  It is in a quiet, sheltered spot against the Cathedral wall, just after you come through the Inner Close from the West door.

Thank you to Winchester Cathedral for enabling this to happen.

Please do go and spend some time remembering her there if you are in Winchester.

If any of you are thinking about fundraising for Allegra’s Ambition please do get in touch either via email info@allegrasambition.org.uk or on Facebook.  We are always excited to hear about what you are all doing and happy to support in any way we can.

#LIVE LIKE LEGGS

#livelikeleggs

Newsletter No. 3 – November 2016

a1It is 656 days since we lost Allegra and just over a year since Allegra’s Ambition’s inception. Allegra’s Ambition is a way for us all to celebrate and honour Allegra and we are grateful and proud that so many of you have taken up the challenge & come up with such innovative & interesting initiatives to fundraise or raise awareness.  It really makes a difference and means so much to us. Our goal is for Allegra’s Ambition to improve as many children’s lives as possible – to have their lives lifted by Allegra’s values. We are making significant progress in moving Allegra’s Ambition forward.  Here is an update on the last six months:

  • For Allegra: There have been a fantastic range of fundraising activities over the last 6 months: – so many people have pushed themselves with extraordinary challenges.
  • From Allegra: There have also been an exciting range of projects to improve the lives of young people who need help – and more are planned!

For Allegra

#RideForAllegra fulfilled one of Allegra’s dreams. Allegra and her friend Lucy Harley had planned for many years to ride their ponies on the beach together & both have spent their childhood summers holidaying on the Camel Estuary in Cornwall.  This summer, with her mother Katy as fantastic back up, Lucy determined to ride her pony Wella from Princes Mead School in Hampshire to Daymer Bay, Cornwall to fulfil that childhood ambition.

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Many of you will have followed her epic journey on Instagram and Facebook.  So many people gave advice, time, beds, fields, and joined Lucy along the way.  They had some extraordinary adventures – including being shown round William Fox-Pitt’s yard and welcomed into castles & beautiful estates – as they travelled 240 miles at 3mph for 28 days (that’s more than 9 marathons!). The photos were stunning & it hardly seemed to rain all summer. There was a lot of local press coverage as well as articles in Country Life & Horse and Hound. Lucy also featured on Radio Solent as one of ‘Julian’s People’. Ride for Allegra raised a staggering £9,000 – many donations came from people who she met along the way or who just heard about her ride through social media. A welcoming party met them on Daymer Bay to watch Wella canter along the beach at low tide – Allegra would have loved it.  Thank you, Lucy, for taking Allegra with you all the way.

9Caledonian Challenge: Amanda Howard, Allegra’s godmother with a team of six, took part in the Caledonian Challenge, a 24-mile hike along the West Highland Highway from Glen Nevis to Glencoe including a vertical climb of over 1,500 feet and the ominously named ‘Devil’s Staircase’. None of them had done any endurance events before but they did it in a very respectable time & raised an amazing sum – over £13,000.

7Kilimanjaro: Emilie Janssen spent her Summer holidays from Uni training for and climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro.  She took Allegra’s much loved stuffed dog Philomen along for the trip and raised £770. Philomen has acquired a taste for mountain climbing, having already been to Everest with Hayley Gaj in January, to Mount Snowden with Ashley & Giles and on the Caledonian Challenge with Amanda.  Philomen is currently snoozing on Allegra’s bed but is always up for a challenge so do get in touch if you have any ideas for a new adventure for him!  Thank you to Emilie and the all the other climbers.  We are so grateful for your donations, time, energy and commitment.

St Swithun’s School chose Allegra’s Ambition as one of their charities for this year.  Through cake sales, rock concerts & sporting events the school has raised over £2,300. In addition, Freya Brannigan & Molly Pickance organised a play & raised over £350. Their engagement and creative approach to fundraising is what Allegra’s Ambition is all about. The school year culminated in the Red Carpet Ball which alone raised £4,900 – we are so very grateful to the whole school community: pupils, teachers & parents who have all given so generously.

2#AHintofTartan: Eleanor Nicholson, a good friend of Allegra’s from day 1 at St Swithuns, along with her family, hosted a wonderful evening of Scottish reeling. It was a special event attended by lots of Allegra’s friends. Eleanor gave a great speech & Allegra would have been very proud of her. Thank you Eleanor & everyone who came & donated. The evening raised £2,200.

This year the Hampshire Hunt Pony Club, where Allegra spent so many happy summers, made Allegra’s Ambition their charity and fundraised at their ball. In addition, through the summer, individual children supported us selling cakes, wristbands or sweets at various events.  Thank you all of you for keeping Allegra in your thoughts and making such a contribution to Allegra’s Ambition not only through fundraising but also practically (but more of that later).

Sasha Good, a good friend of Allegra’s from Pony Club, followed in Allegra’s and Maddie Sturgess & Apple Mallory & Alex and Lucy Kellock footsteps and cut her hair to donate to the Little Princess’s charity which provides wigs for children with cancer.  She also raised £600 for Allegra’s Ambition. Thank you, Sasha.

y8-sherborne-prepThere was also an impressive amount of fundraising by Year 8s. Allegra’s cousin, Eddie, and his class mates in Year 8 at Sherborne Prep, used their end of year business project to fundraise for Allegra’s Ambition. In total they raised £500, which along with the sponsored bike ride he did with his class mates in 2015, will be used to run an Athletics event in April 2017 (see below).

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Maddie Boissier and Aggie Roberts-Wests, also in Year 8, organised a fantastic PINK disco #danceforleggy.  The tickets sold out in record time, they raised an extraordinary £2,000 and it was a lovely very PINK evening.  There was so much thought in all the detail including pink drinks and #danceforleggy wristbands.  Thank you to everyone especially Maddy and Aggie & their families for all their hard work & the Bentleys for kindly lending their beautiful barn for the venue.

img_4266Also in June, Alex Bradshaw, Sebastian Ellis, Jamie Beardmore-Grey & Joe Bentley from Year 8 at Pilgrim’s (where Allegra’s brothers went to prep school) decided to do the Three Peak’s Challenge with their Dads.  Within 24 hours they successfully whipped up Snowden, Ben Nevis & Scafell Pike & raised a staggering £4,540. An amazing physical & fund raising challenge.

e5In September, Georgia Sugden, who knew Allegra at St Swithun’s, with a group of friends from Edinburgh university, took part in a Tough Mudder. Vere joined them with Harry Winterbottom & Georgie Revell. Georgia’s team raised £1,270!

Fitique, an independent fitness boutique in Alresford has been very supportive of Allegra’s Ambition. In May, they held an evening where the Performance Chef spoke to an audience on nutrition & the shop raised £240. The Hubble family donated 2 tickets to Wimbledon which were sold in aid of Allegra’s Ambition & another family generously bid for them. Ruth Warwick who looked after Allegra many years ago did a second fundraising event & their family cycle raised £230. Evie Blaxland spent the summer making and selling gorgeous bracelets pink for Allegra raising £60 – thank you so much. 

We offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to Allegra’s Ambition.  Every contribution big or small is so valued.  

From Allegra

Since our last newsletter Allegra’s Ambition has been involved in a number of projects:

We have been developing links with Ebony Riding Club throughout 2016. EHC is a riding centre based in the centre of residential estates in Brixton which teaches inner city children, including some very vulnerable young people, to ride and offers respite in their lives.  

On 22 July, 25 young people from Ebony arrived at Herriard Park for a day organised by Allegra’s Ambition with the incredible support of Hampshire Hunt Pony Club. HH members donated their time & ponies for Ebony children to spend the whole day with – it was an extraordinary effort – to see so many HH children, happy to lend their ponies, helping and encouraging the Ebony children along with their parents and coaches – we were very proud of them.  Ebony members enjoyed rides in the huge paddocks set up for the day, a barbecue generously donated by Newlyns as well as games of rounders & football at lunchtime. It was a fantastic day true to the spirit of Allegra’s Ambition.  The feedback from Ebony was very positive, and we hope will be this day will be the first of many. We have already set a date for the day for next year of Monday 24 July 2017 – please put it in your diaries.


In October, a group of Allegra’s friends and family, including many HH members, visited Ebony for the opening of Allegra’s Paddock, a much needed piece of grazing created at Ebony, an extension of their existing facility in Brixton, with land lent by Lambeth Council and fenced by Allegra’s Ambition.  There was a tour of the riding centre, riding demonstrations and the chance to meet and talk to many of the young people who ride at Ebony before the official opening.  Everyone who attended was truly inspired by the fantastic work of the charity and by the enthusiasm of all the members we met.   There is a beautiful plaque commemorating the paddock named after Allegra for all to see. We are continuing to look at ways we can develop our partnership with Ebony.  If you want to find out more, please go to visit the Ebony website. www.ebonyhorseclub.org.uk.

On 1 April 2017 Allegra’s aunt, Georgina, is organising an event with Wimborne Athletics & Dorset Sport Schools at Kings Park Stadium, Bournemouth to encourage more young people to engage in athletics. There will be taster sessions in 6 events & they are targeting all local schools. Please contact info@allegrasambition.org.uk for further details. They are looking for a local Dorset or Hampshire Olympian who might be willing to come & chat to the children for 30 minutes at lunch if anyone has any suggestions…

In Hong Kong, Charlotte, another of Allegra’s aunts, following the success of last year, is planning another Fun Run on Lamma Island in HongKong. With funds raised from the HK community she plans to partner with a local charity The HubHK (http://www.thehubhk.org). They work with children who are below the poverty line, provide for them pastoral care, schooling assistance, music, dance, yoga, excursions and so much more. There is a huge community of children in HK who live in housing no bigger than a box, they do not get the chance to get into nature and many will not know what it feels like to walk on grass. The link up between Allegra’s Ambition and The Hub HK will hopefully provide a day of nature to as many of these children as possible.
We have spent lots of time thinking how best to take Allegra’s Ambition forward.  Each charity we partner with must pass the Allegra test.  We have several potential projects in the pipeline and are meeting with a number of possible partners before Christmas.  We will be sending out more information in our next newsletter.  

Allegra’s 18th birthday is in January. If anyone would like to commemorate the day, a contribution to Allegra’s Ambition would be a special way to support everything the charity is trying to achieve #forAllegra who is so desperately missed by so many of us every minute of every day.

Please follow us on Instagram & Facebook where we post regular news & updates. You can also view these posts on the website www.allegrasambition.co.uk if you don’t have a social media account. We are not as good at keeping the website as current, although we try our best!

Newsletter No. 1 – May 2016

Since last year a lot has been going on with Allegra’s Ambition & we thought we should summarise it all together in a “newsletter”. We have sent it to as many people we could think of who have supported us this last year, but are bound to have made some omissions – so please feel free to forward it on to anyone who is interested. We do have a website www.allegrasambition.org.uk which we keep reasonably up to date – we also post much more regularly on Facebook & Instagram. If you are not on social media you can view these posts via the Allegra’s Ambition website (on the pages behind the Home screen e.g. if you go into the ‘CONTACT’ tab.)

Since the New Forest Marathon & the many other walks & runs that happened on the 13 September 2015, so many people have taken on incredible challenges & raised money, as well as love, for Allegra’s Ambition. Allegra would love them all & they are a very touching way of expressing the gap her loss has left in our lives – we cannot ever thank everyone enough but

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH AGAIN.

The one thing we have learnt is that it is not true that there is nothing anyone can do – everything, however small really makes such a difference. Many people, as you can see below, have made big efforts and made a big difference – in the example they have set and the funds they have raised. They have been amazing – we are deeply moved and grateful.

We are sending you this “newsletter” to let you know:

  • For Allegra: What people have done/plan to do soon
  • From Allegra: What gifts have been made to date.

For Allegra: What people have done/plan to do soon

Soon after the New Forest Marathon last year several families took part in The Gower Triathlon in Wales. This is an Olympic distance event set in the stunning location of Port Eynon. The main event involves a 1,500m Swim, a 37k Bike course and a 10k Run. There is also a sprint event. The team wore bright pink t-shirts raising awareness for Allegra’s Ambition & Josie Smailes raised £1,358 and James Turner raised £1,205.

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In January, Hayley Gaj, who was a housemistress & PE teacher at St Swithun’s School set herself the challenge of climbing to the Base Camp of Everest unaided. She took with her some Pink Prayer flags that had been signed by many of Allegra’s friends & family. She posted some amazing photos of her journey on which she was accompanied by Philemon, one of Allegra’s favourite teddies – he had quite an adventure. Having reached Base Camp, Hayley went on to summit Kala Pattar at 5,545m. Philemon tied a single pink shoelace to the prayer flags on the summit. En-route they stopped at the graves of Scott Fischer and other souls who have lost their lives on the mountain. Hayley’s climb was entirely self-funded and she raised £1,951 for Allegra’s Ambition. In addition, Hayley took with her some donations from girls at St Swithun’s & from Allegra’s Ambition of hats, gloves, blankets, sports equipment, water purifying tablets, candles & work gloves to distribute to some of the victims of the Nepal earthquake last year.

Also in January, Julie Montagu, a celebrated yoga teacher & cookery writer (but most importantly mother of one of Allegra’s best friends, Emma), led a Flow in the Dark Yoga evening in aid of Allegra’s Ambition. 80 yogis attended an evening organised by The Well Scene and, with the raffle and donations from tickets, Julie raised a total of £575. Julie has also dedicated her latest book Eat Real Food to Allegra.

In March, George Garnett, an old Pilgrim’s school friend of Vere’s ran the Liverpool Half Marathon raising £2,830. Suz Crichton-Stuart, who lays claim to the infamy of being the first person to canter with Allegra on Twinkles, was inspired to run her first (Surrey) Half Marathon raising £570. Just last w/e Allegra’s cousin Charlie Brooksbank did a 12 mile Tough Mudder dressed in a bright pink morph suit – we are looking forward to the photos…. He has raised £1,540. A schoolfriend of Honor’s, Clemmie Rydon, chose to ask for donations to Allegra’s Ambition in lieu of birthday presents to raising £330. And a young boy called Barnaby Grant, who is in Year 3 & never met Allegra, organised a cake sale for Allegra’s Ambition

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The boys of JDN, Vere & Luke’s house at school ran the Eton College steeplechase (between 3 & 7.5 miles) blazoned in pink T shirts, raising £3,175. Forty boys ran – practically the whole house excluding those who were injured or away. This is a great example of the resolute support that they have given to Vere and Luke since they lost their sister – the strong turnout of friends from JDN for the New Forest Marathon event is another.

In terms of sheer numbers, the greatest support for Allegra’s New Forest Run came from her school, St Swithun’s – the girls, the teachers, the parents – everyone. Since then, St Swithuns have continued to think of Allegra and support her charity. We were recently invited to speak to the whole school to update them on our progress and the school made Allegra’s Ambition one of their chosen charities for the year. So far they have raised £1,300 from a quiz night, advent service collection & cake sales. A number of her friends have also expressed interest in being further involved in the charity which we are very enthusiastic about.

Sport Hampshire generously selected Allegra’s Ambition as their nominated charity at their Annual Awards evening in March. Shoonagh & Dominic Hubble kindly agreed to speak on our behalf & raised £928.

In 2013, Allegra donated several inches of her hair to an incredible charity called www.littleprincesses.org.uk/ which makes real hair wigs for free for sick children. A number of Allegra’s friends have followed suite, including Lucy & Alex Kellock who also raised £863 sponsorship for Allegra’s Ambition.

Looking ahead the plans & ideas keep coming:

Amanda Howard, Allegra’s indomitable godmother, has managed to inspire a team of six to take part in the Caledonian Challenge in June, a 24 mile extreme trek across the Scottish Highlands http://www.caledonianchallenge.com/. You can support Amanda by clicking this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Amanda-Howard4.

Emilie Janssen plans to climb Mt Kilimanjaro this summer: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/emiliejanssen2

Georgia Sugden, who played lacrosse with Allegra at school, & is now at university is gathering a team to take part in a Tough Mudder in September https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/10friends

Aggie Roberts West & Maddie Boissier are organising a “Dance for Leggy” for Year 8s in June. Also on 25 May Fitique Alresford are holding an evening with The Performance Chef. All ticket sales proceeds will go to Allegra’s Ambition.

The HH Pony Club have kindly made Allegra’s Ambition their charity for the year & will be fundraising at their ball on Saturday 28 May. TO BUY TICKETS @ £65 per person contact catherinerussell25@yahoo.com or hhponyclub.dc@gmail.com

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From Allegra: What gifts have been made to date

Over the last few months, we have spent time meeting people who run other charities whose objectives have parallels with Allegra’s Ambition

We would really like you to be involved in the charity – who better understands what Allegra would think is right than people who loved her, her friends – or people who just believe in the way she lived her life.

So far we have done a few relatively small things. We have bought football shirts & goals for the slum in Haruma, Nairobi, Kenya where the charity EdClub (www.edclubmovement.org) operates. We also donated some items for Hayley Gaj, Allegra’s former teacher, for her trip to Nepal to give to victims of last year’s earthquake. In addition, we are forming a partnership with the Ebony Horse Club based in Brixton.

Although the donations are small in size, they have had a big impact. The children in Haruma come from very poor families – the football shirts and goals were the present these children most wanted for Christmas. When they received them, they were so happy and surprised that they called a meeting of the whole community (about 300 people came) where they had speeches, prayers and hymns of thanks to God. They then played 3 football matches, one after the other, to celebrate – where each of the two teams for each match, used the same shirts – one after another!

This gift passed the Allegra test – Allegra had been to Haruma and cared about the children. The gift made a difference and is part of a greater story of support started by Allegra’s godmother, Alice Macaire, when the community were about to be evicted from their homes and continuing with initiatives like the EdClub project founded by the Macaires. Allegra had given a presentation at St Swithuns about EdClub the week before she died and now 30+ girls at St Swithuns are involved in the charity. No money was wasted – no administration fees or marketing costs – every single pound went to buy goal posts and shirts. When you think about all this, suddenly it is not so small at all – not for these children.

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More recently we have begun a partnership with the Ebony Horse Club (www.ebonyhorseclub.org.uk). The Ebony riding school is in the middle of Brixton surrounded by some of the most deprived areas in South London. It works with the local schools and council to target the young people who most need help. It starts with riding lessons and caring for the horses but it offers much more than that. It aims to improve their lives – with remarkable results. Ebony is very keen to organise events outside London (for most of the children, they have no other opportunity to get out).

The idea of organising a local event for Ebony children was warmly and enthusiastically shared by the Hampshire Hunt Pony Club. As a result, funded by Allegra’s Ambition and relying on the kindhearted offers of the venue and pony loans by HH families, we plan to host a day on 22 July for up to 30 children to come for a country riding expedition to Herriard Park. It will be a day to celebrate & remember Allegra as well.

We have also agreed to fund the cost of creating a paddock from a small part of the park next to the riding school which has been offered by Lambeth Council. The purpose is for the horses to have somewhere to graze when they are not working. Ebony’s horses have NO other grazing – only a woodchip paddock. This will not only improve the horses’ quality of life but it will extend their useful working life and it will also allow people using the park to see horses in a more natural environment. It is to be called Allegra’s Paddock & we hope to invite HH Pony Club members & anyone else interested to come to its opening later in the summer so that they can also see the incredible work that Ebony does in the Brixton community.

Early days but a lot has gone on already as you can see – We are so grateful to you all for your support & love.

THANK YOU.

#forallegra