A BUSINESS owner who successfully completed this year’s Macmillan Ride of Their Lives is encouraging others to take up the challenge.

Karl Avison, who runs Cedar Ban Farm Shop near Pickering, with his wife, Mandy, rekindled his love of riding when a friend suggested he apply for the Macmillan Cancer Support’s annual event at York racecourse. He hadn't ridden in 34 years and had just turned 50 when he took on the challenge.

He said: “I just started riding a few horses out for fun, it totally reignited my passion.

“This time last year I applied for Ride of their Lives I had no idea what the following six months had in store for me. Ride of Their Lives changed my life, it’s as simple as that really."

“The Macmillan connection to the Ride of Their Lives was incredibly important to me and my family.

He added: “We lost my dad 14 years ago, he died very suddenly from a rare form of brain cancer. Macmillan were incredibly supportive during this horrendous time in our lives. The charity was not only there for dad, but also for the rest of the family.”

Karl raised an incredible £19,300 for Macmillan.

He said: “The opportunity to raise money for this fantastic charity was a great way for me to give something back.

“There was a lot of goodwill locally, the community got behind us from the start.

“It was definitely a team effort, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my wife Mandy, our daughter and Alison, our general manager at Cedar Barn Farm Shop.

“We had an initial target of £10,000 after we smashed that target we just keep going, in total we raised £19,300 for Macmillan.”

Applications are now open for amateur riders to take part in the Ride of their Lives 2020.

Sarah Child, a Macmillan fundraising manager, said: “2020 is a particularly special year as it marks the 50th anniversary of our special partnership with the racecourse.

“Together with our inspirational amateur jockeys we raised a mind blowing £64,000 at the race meeting this year. That money goes into funding our fabulous Macmillan nurses, information and support workers and services across the region.

Successful applicants will have the chance to race thoroughbred horses around Knavesmire course and will be trained by a former jockey. All riders pledge to raise a minimum of £3,000 for Macmillan.

Applications close on Monday, December 9. For details, go to yorkracecourse.co.uk/news-applications-open-for-2020-macmillan-charity-horserace-.html?cat=3