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The Avon Vale Races committee has launched an appeal to fund a race for former committee member and Point-to-Point rider James McNeile, who tragically died in a fall during this year’s race meeting on April 1st at Larkhill.

Led by James’s family and friends, the race will form an integral part of this popular race meeting that draws together the rural community in the Avon Vale country between Chippenham, Bath, Devizes and Trowbridge. The race will be aimed at Veteran and Novice riders. Next year’s Avon Vale Races takes place on Easter Saturday March 31st.

In a unique funding mechanism, the race will be funded by encouraging members of the public or those wishing to support the event to become members of the James McNeile Fan Club, created to perpetuate James’s memory and celebrate his Corinthian attitude to participating in sport. Membership of the Club, to include newsletters and a draw for racing tickets, costs just £100.

“We’ve been very touched by the support of so many folk who turned out to celebrate James’s life at his funeral and thanksgiving services, and through a multitude of letters, texts and other remarks,” commented James’s brother Peter. “I hope this race will offer everyone a chance to remember James’s positive attitude to life in a way he too would appreciate. We hope to run the race for as long as there is appetite to do so.”

Jeremy Cottle, Chairman of the Avon Vale Races committee, added, “James was a keen supporter of the Avon Vale, and this is an excellent way to celebrate his contribution to the hunt, to the Point-to-Point and to the rural community he served. We look forward to welcoming loads of folk to Larkhill for a happy occasion in March.”

Contact: Peter McNeile (07850 091523)

Avon Vale Races is an annual Point-to-Point race meeting staged by the Avon Vale Hunt at Larkhill racecourse, near Amesbury, Wiltshire.