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Firefighter races to £6k for cancer charity

FIREFIGHTER Stuart Parr raised almost £6,000 for Cancer Research UK after racing at Cheltenham in the St Patrick's Derby.

Stuart, based at Ashton Fire Station, was in the saddle on six-year-old Kykate, taking on 11 riders in the St Patrick's Derby flat race over a mile and five furlongs at the HQ of National Hunt racing in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Stuart said: "It was such a great day. I was treated like a celebrity all day.

"People wanted to speak to me and ask me questions about my horse and myself.

"I would like to thank all the public for their support and donations, and my trainer William Kinsey and David Bithell Racing for trusting me and giving me the opportunity of riding Kykate at the festival - as well as everyone who has supported me in some way.

"I met some great people and sports personalities - it's a day I will never forget.

"Hopefully this massive amount raised can help make a difference."

Cancer Research UK is very dear to Stuart's heart after his nan died 12 months ago following a battle with cancer.

Stuart Parr at work

His mother was diagnosed with cancer the same year and is still being treated for it.

Another inspiration for Stuart, who has ridden all of his life, came from close friend and trainer Patricia Caldwell, who taught Stuart everything he knows about racing.

She died from the disease just over six months ago.

Stuart was thankful for such strong motivation to keep him going through a tough training regime, having to keep to a strict diet and training schedule to ensure he shed enough pounds to be at an ideal racing weight.

"My watch has been very supportive at Ashton, " said Stuart. "They helped with sponsorship - we took the fire engine down to Sainsbury's in Ashton to do a collection on a busy Sunday - and they were encouraging towards me.

"My Watch Manager Alan Kirk was very supportive too - I was able to use the gym and train as much as I could during my dinners and breaks, to help with my fitness and weight loss.

"Friends, family and work colleagues have been really supportive throughout and have donated generously too."

Despite not winning the race, Stuart romped home when it came to donations - he smashed his target of £5,000 by raising almost £6,000.

The 12 riders he took part with have raised a combined total of more than £120,000.

If you haven't donated yet, you still can by clicking on or text PARR50 £5 OR £10 70070 free of charge.

Stuart Parr riding

Last update: 27/03/2012 10:43:20
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