Thanet Disabled Riding Centre volunteer, husband and work colleagues to take on Three Peaks Challenge fundraiser

Lolly (right) at the Thanet Disabled Riding Centre

A volunteer with Thanet Disabled Riding Centre will be tackling a gruelling 25-mile challenge  this week to raise charity funds.

Lolly Knell along with husband Paul and their colleagues from McDonald’s Margate head office, will be hoping to conquer The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.

The 25-mile hike takes in the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales and the challenge is to complete the route within 12 hours.

The Margate team is raising money for the Ronald McDonald Houses charity.

The Ronald McDonald house enables families with babies or children in hospital to stay at the house free of charge for as long as they need.

Lolly is also raising funds for the Thanet Disabled Riding Centre where she has been volunteering since the covid pandemic.

The mum-of-two, from Margate, said: “There are 10 of us doing it. At McDonalds we raise £2000 per store to keep Ronald McDonald Houses going and lots of people support that.

“I asked if I could also have the riding centre as my charity. We have raised over £3,500 already for the Ronald McDonald charity and I have raised £750 for the riding centre and want to reach £1000.

“I’m going into my fourth year volunteering there now. During covid my niece Molly was a volunteer and she is a manager there now. She asked me if I wanted to come and help feed the ponies. I’ve always had horses and love them so said yes. Then I met the children and have never looked back.

“I help with the ponies but also walk alongside the children when they ride as we have to have five volunteers for each horse.

“So, we need more volunteers, we need another horse, we need a new roof for the tack room, there are so many things we need!”

The centre has been running for more than 40 years and has been at its current site at Maurice House in Broadstairs for 30 years. It is entirely self-funded and  relies on donations from groups and individuals.

It is headed up by Nora Setterfield, 82, who received an MBE in 2013 for her dedication to the centre which helps children and adults who suffer from disabilities by providing riding lessons or just time with the horses and other visitors. There are some 48 students each week as well as a number of children with special needs who help at the stables with the volunteers.

Lolly and the team take on the Three Peaks challenge this Saturday (April 15) and she and Paul have been busy training in the gym and going on walks, although finding hilly areas nearby has been tricky.

Lolly, 57, said: “Both of us have been training really hard. We have been to Dover a couple of times but there is nowhere ese with hills so it is just getting the elevation bit but I will do it even if I have to crawl!

“The aim is to do it within 12 hours and we start at 6am on Saturday doing the biggest peak first so at least that will be out of the way.”

Starting and finishing at Horton in Ribblesdale, the route takes in Pen-y-ghent (694m), Whernside (736m) and Ingleborough (723m).

Find Lolly’s fundraising page here