Stratford Hills Announces 2020 Charity and Dates

The Stratford Hills Horse Trials committee are pleased to announce the Charlie Watkins Foundation as its 2020 charity.  With next season’s dates confirmed as the 13th and 14th June, the event will enter its eighteenth year of running and aims to raise more funds for local charities.

The 2020 charity intends to support the provision of mental health services to young people in the UK.  Charlie Watkins was just 22 when he took his own life in March 2017.  Sadly, Charlie never recovered from the tragic loss of his mother when he was nine years old.  Charlie is one of the many examples of young people who suffer from mental health issues.  The Charlie Watkins Foundation aims to raise funds to support young people struggling with mental health issues and encourages them to talk and remove the stigma of mental health.

The foundation was set up by Harry Watkins, Charlie’s twin brother, in September 2017.  The aim is to accelerate the provision of counselling for young people and to support the lobbying for support at both regional and national level.

“The SHHT committee all have children and are very aware of the mental health issues surrounding young people today.  We therefore welcome the chance to support a local charity which is offering a chat line to anyone who is suffering from anxiety or any other problems” commented organiser Gillie Cranfield.

2019 saw the event run with one of its smallest fields but attracted much praise from riders of all levels.  Benefitting from the extensive rain, that caused other events to abandon, the Suffolk event ran with the best ground they had ever seen.

“A truly lovely event with really good terrain that makes for an exciting and proper cross-country course.  We were super happy with the outcome as we made a plan to come here and everything went to plan.  The organisation and the volunteers were just brilliant and we’re already looking forward to coming back next year.” Francis Whittington

Regular visitor to Stratford Hills, Matthew Heath would also encourage other riders to make the journey to the Suffolk venue.

“I really don’t know why more people don’t support Stratford Hills, it is one of the friendliest and accommodating events on the circuit with easy access straight off a main road.  The courses are great with the hills presenting a good challenge.  There is always a good grass cover and this year was the best ground I’d ever seen.  I’ve been coming for a number of years and will continue to make the effort to come, no matter where I’m based.”

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