COMMUNITY INITIATIVE GIVES RACEGOERS THE CHANCE TO DONATE GIFTS THIS CHRISTMAS AT THE BETFAIR TINGLE CREEK FESTIVAL
A popular initiative which gives racegoers at Sandown Park the opportunity to donate gifts for children and families is returning in time for Christmas.
The Jockey Club introduced the Gifting Programme at the Esher venue in January of this year, receiving a huge number of donations from generous visitors to the racecourse.
Now those heading to the track for the prestigious Betfair Tingle Creek Festival on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd December are being given the chance to bring with them everything from children’s games and toys to sports accessories and clothing.
On the track the two-day meeting is one of the racing highlights of the Jump season at Sandown Park, beginning with a fascinating six-race card on the Friday, headlined by the Grade Two Winter Novices’ Hurdle, before a star-studded line-up take to the track for the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase, one of two Grade One races which feature on Saturday’s card.
And alongside the top quality racing, the Gifting Programme gives racegoers the chance to support the local community by donating small items across both days of the fixture.
Working together with Christ Church, one of the two churches in the Parish of Esher, the gifts will go to Lower Green Community Centre. Located close to Sandown Park in a low-income neighbourhood, the centre is committed to helping the local community, with a particular focus on children and families.
The centre is a welcoming community support hub with a cafe where local people can meet for a chat, take part in various activities and access help and support when needed. The centre runs a Community Fridge and Foodstore stocked with surplus supermarket produce and has recently partnered with the Brite Box Project which distributes meals for low-income families to cook with their children.
The aim of the Gifting Programme will be to distribute the donated gifts to members of the local community as Christmas or birthday presents over the months following the Betfair Tingle Creek Festival. Racegoers are encouraged to bring gifts such as children’s games, sports accessories, thermal clothing, children’s selection packs and Christmas goodies. There will be donation points at the arrival desk in the main foyer for the Grandstand, so racegoers can donate their gifts when arriving on the day.
Sarah Drabwell, General Manager of Sandown Park, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Lower Green Community Centre and the wider Esher Community through our Gifting Programme. We started this programme earlier in 2022 with great success at our Tolworth Hurdle raceday, where we were overwhelmed with the response from our racegoers.
“Once again, we are encouraging racegoers to bring gifts of all shapes and sizes, so we can gift these donations to all ages of children throughout the community. The Betfair Tingle Creek Festival is the highlight of our jumps season, and the perfect pre-Christmas day out for all the family.”
Jenny French, Community Projects Manager at Lower Green Community Centre, added: “With the current financial climate, the support hub at the Lower Green Community Centre will be crucial in helping people through the winter. With Christmas just around the corner, our aim is to help every family enjoy the festive season. The donated gifts will ensure that everyone has presents to give their children and will relieve the worry that those who are struggling inevitably feel at this time of the year.
“We are so grateful to Sandown Park for supporting the work of the Community Centre and look forward to distributing the gifts that racegoers bring along to both days of the Betfair Tingle Creek Festival.”
Run over two miles, the Betfair Tingle Creek is one of the most prestigious races in the division. Speed and accurate jumping are a must to land a race which has been won by some of Jump racing’s all-time greats, including Altior, Desert Orchid, Moscow Flyer, Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy. This year’s renewal looks to be just as exciting as previous years, with last year’s winner Greaneteen looking to defend his title.