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Society Dinner raises thousands

Top names from the worlds of polo and riding came together on Valentine’s night to raise funds for two charities – Brooke Hospital for Animals and the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.

The event saw society figures converging at Loseley Park in Guildford, Surrey for an auspicious Valentine’s dinner and celebrity auction.

Among the personalities donating promises, were horse racing legend Lester Piggott, trainer Josh Gifford and racing commentator John McCririck. Other lots included a signed Eric Clapton CD, an Arnold Schwarzenegger autographed photograph and an entire set of original Womble books signed by their author, Elizabeth Beresford.

Michael Baker (chief executive of Brooke Hospital for Animals), Dr. Robert Clifford-Jones (consultant neurologist and Motor Neurone supporter), Julia Franklin (trustee of the MND Association and local Branch Chair), Hopie Dimond (co-organiser and Brooke supporter), Robert Montague-Woolger (co-organiser and Brooke supporter).

By the end of the night, the auction and sale of tickets had raised more than £3,000, equally divided between Brooke and the MND Association. The money will go towards improving the lives of working equines and their impoverished owners in parts of the developing world and to providing care and support for people living with MND in Sussex and Surrey.

Hopie Dimond, organiser of the event along with Robert Montague-Woolger, both of whom are long-standing supporters of the Brooke, said of the occasion: “"It was a fantastic evening and, thanks to the generosity of the guests, it will help us to reach working horses in desperate need. The Brooke's work of providing veterinary support for hundreds of thousands of working animals is only possible because of our supporters and events like these."

Julia Franklin, trustee of the MND Association and local Branch Chair, joined Hopie in congratulating all those involved in organising the event and also took the opportunity to thank attendees for their generosity.

“The Association depends entirely on donations to continue it’s work and we are grateful for all the help we receive,” she said. “The dinner was a great success and raised valuable funds, which will assist us in offering the continued support and services to those affected by MND in our area and also research in the causes - and ultimately a cure, for this fatal disease.”

The Brooke Hospital for Animals was founded in 1934 to improve the condition and well being of equine animals overseas by providing free veterinary treatment for the working horses, donkeys and mules of some of the poorest people in the world and by advising and training their owners.

It is the only organisation dedicated to providing veterinary treatment for working equines, alongside the training of owners, to bring about lasting change. It operates in Egypt, Jordan, India and Pakistan.

The MND Association was established in 1979 and now has over 85 branches across the country – each dedicated to providing care and support for people with MND and their families. The Association also funds vital research into causes, treatments and a cure for this devastating and fatal disease.

MND leaves people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves, but the intellect and the senses remain unaffected. People with MND can still think and feel, but their muscles refuse to work. Three people a day die from MND in the UK, affecting over 5,000 people in this country alone, at any one time. Average life expectancy is just 14 months after diagnosis.

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