Wiltshire’s iconic white horses are gearing up for an influx on charity walkers with the launch of this year’s White Horse Challenge.

Organised by MHA Monahans, Rygor and the Rocking Horse Nursery in Melksham, this year’s challenge will take place over the weekend of 7th and 8th July and poses walkers with challenges of between 7 and 52 miles.

All funds raised by the walkers go to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and since the White Horse Challenge was started in 2006 over £147,300 has been raised.

There are four event challenges to choose from, with the Complete Challenge taking place over the two days and walkers will cover 52 miles, taking in seven of Wiltshire’s white horses and walking from Devizes to Marlborough on a 27 mile route on day one, and back on a 25 mile route on day two.  There is an option to camp overnight, with tents set up by the organisers ready for a night’s rest and a cooked breakfast in the morning.

One day challenges are available as well and walkers can choose to join either the 27 mile route on Saturday or the 25 mile route on Sunday.  Relay challenges are open for teams of four or more and a mini challenge will take place on the Sunday.  The mini challenge covers seven miles and is an ideal option for families and novice walkers who want to take part and raise much-needed funds for this vital local charity.

Speaking on behalf of the co-organisers, Immy Hellawell, events assistant at MHA Monahans said: “This is the 13th year that the White Horse Challenge will take place and we’ll sure that this will definitely be a lucky one!  An incredible amount has been raised through the previous 12 challenges for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.  As a self-funded charity, we feel the Wiltshire Air Ambulance is an incredibly important charity to support and raise money for. The work they do is vital to the local community and we are honoured to be able to give back to this fantastic cause.

“We had over 100 people take part last year and so we hope to beat that this year and continue supporting the Wiltshire Air Ambulance as much as we can.”

Graham Drake, Owner Director at Rygor, said: “Rygor is really proud to once again support the White Horse Challenge this year. The Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity which is very close to our hearts and carries out such vital work for the people of Wiltshire.

“This year, the team at Rygor has voted to support Wiltshire Air Ambulance as one of our three 2018 Charities of the Year, with a total fund-raising target of £6,000 split equally across the three charities, in addition to the support of staff and vehicles for the White Horse Challenge. It is fantastic to see that this event alone has raised more than £145,000 for WAA since its inception in 2006.

“This is a momentous year for WAA as it finalises the development of a new, purpose-built airbase and HQ in Melksham, whilst still needing to raise more than £3 million to keep the Helicopter in the air. This is why we are delighted to be able to continue to support this worthy cause.”

For more information on the White Horse Challenge and to register, visit www.whitehorsechallenge.co.uk.

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