Gainsborough vets receptionist saddles up to raise money for cancer

Gainsborough vets receptionist saddles up to raise money for cancer

A RECEPTIONIST at a Gainsborough vets is saddling up for her biggest competition after being inspired by a teenage rider’s courageous fight against cancer.

Ruth Hallam, a receptionist at Raoul Dowding Vets in Gainsborough, is taking on The Wobbleberry Challenge with her horse Cailin to raise money for The Willberry Wonderpony charity.

The charity raises money to fund research into cancer, and was founded by Hannah Francis, a keen event rider, who tragically lost her battle with bone cancer in 2016.

The challenge asks riders over the age of 25 with little or no eventing experience to train and compete in an 80cm class British Eventing course in just 12 months. Ruth will be completing her challenge at a competition at Norton Disney in Nottinghamshire in October.

Ruth was inspired to join the challenge after reading Hannah’s story and after buying her first horse at the age of 43 wanted the opportunity to test her and her mare’s skills.

Ruth says: “I have followed Hannah’s story since she started a blog in 2015 while she was suffering from cancer, and I was really inspired by her bravery.

“Since I got Cailin I’ve been looking for a new opportunity to help us both improve our skills, so when I saw The Wobbleberry Challenge it seemed like the perfect way of keeping us active whilst raising money for a good cause.

“The challenge has been really exciting but it has been hard work. However, Hannah’s story really inspired me to push on.”

Ruth has been riding since she was eight years old and has always been passionate about animals. It was this love that first attracted her to Dowding Vets where she has worked for three years.

Since starting the challenge, Ruth has set a fundraising target of £300, and colleagues from Dowding Vets’ two surgeries in Gainsborough and Bawtry will also be sponsoring her.

Ruth added: “The Wobbleberry Challenge has given me and Cailin a lot of confidence. I’m hoping to complete the challenge and compete in my first ever British Eventing competition in October of this year at Norton Disney in Nottinghamshire. Hopefully, I’ll be successful and whatever contribution I make will go some way to helping fight this terrible disease.”

If you’d like to help Ruth reach her fundraising target, please visit her JustGiving page at

For media enquiries, please contact Hannah Withers, VetPartners PR and Communications Assistant on 0191 274 7910 or email