Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony was founded in 2016 by event rider Hannah Francis, who was diagnosed with the rare bone cancer osteosarcoma when she was just 17-years-old.
She told her story by blogging through the eyes of her horse mascot Willberry and was hugely supported by the equine community, enabling her to fulfil many items on her bucket list.
Hannah created Willberry’s Wishes as part of the charity, granting equine-related wishes to seriously ill people. Sadly, Hannah died in August 2016 but the charity has gone from strength to strength.
Hannah’s mother Rachel Francis is busy manning the stall at the championships, which are being held at Bishop Burton College this week.
“We can’t thank Bishop Burton enough for choosing us as the event charity,” said Rachel, who revealed funding has just been given the go-ahead for three PhD students at Sheffield University. This will be the charity’s first research project.
“It’s especially poignant to be here because of it being an event for young people,” added Rachel. “The support has been tremendous and before the event we were mailing Willberry ponies out to Germany, France, Sweden, Poland, Italy - all over the world.”
Wiltshire-based Rachel says the charity is keen to hear from those who are seriously ill and have an equestrian-related wish.
“We can help make memories for those - whatever age - who have an equestrian wish,” she said. “Whatever the horsey wish, we will do our best to help it come true. Hannah knew - from the wishes she had granted - how important it is to have something to look forward to. They always put a smile on her face; which is so very important at such a tough time.”