It’s been quite a year for Rockinghorse and here in our final issue of 2017, we take a look back at the charity’s successes and achievements from the year just passed, hearing of some of its supporters along the way…


We smashed through our £500,000 target last month thanks to funds raised at our 50th Anniversary Ball.
Held at The Grand Hotel in Brighton, our Golden Jubilee gala event played host to over 400 supporters who helped celebrate our milestone year. We launched our anniversary appeal ‘Sussex Giving for Sussex Children’ last October with the aim to raise half a million pounds. £115,000 was raised at the Ball, of which every penny will be going towards the appeal. Our goal total was reached thanks to a very generous additional donation by local businessman, Michael Blencowe, on behalf of the Blencowe family, who presented Rockinghorse with a cheque for £45,000 on the night. This has enabled them to reach their £500,000 target two months before the end of the year!

The Ball was compered by Danny Pike from BBC Sussex, with guests enjoying a sumptuous three-course dinner plus a cheese course provided by La Cave á Fromage. Entertainment was provided by ‘singing waiters’ Opera on the Run, who surprised guests with their humorous and energetic performance. It was a rush to the dance floor as headline act The Fab Beatles – the UK’s number one Beatles tribute band – took to the stage to perform the bands greatest hits. The event was sponsored by DMH Stallard and the firm marked their own celebrations on the night as Managing Partner, Richard Pollins, also turned 50 this year. Co-sponsors were Cardens, City Cabs Brighton, The Grand Brighton and Rivervale.

Our charity auction proved a hit with many exclusive prizes available for generous bidders – including a money-can-buy ‘Forever in Fiction’ auction lot kindly donated by award-winning author Peter James. He was present on the night and spoke about the opportunity he had offered for a lucky bidder to have a character with their name in a future Roy Grace novel. The Brighton and Hove Bus Company created a ‘mini’ Rockinghorse bus which they had donated for auction – a replica of the full-scale special edition bus, currently on the roads of Brighton, Hove and Sussex, kindly gifted to us by the bus company – which has generously been donated to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity said: “I feel a huge sense of pride stood before you this evening as Chief Executive of this wonderful cause. Rockinghorse means so much to me, and I know I am not alone. I have always positioned myself as a Rockinghorse supporter who happens to be the CEO. My own family could look and feel very different today without the work of the charity; providing life-saving medical equipment, resource, counselling, respite, research and all-round support for the children in our community that need our help the most.


Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra has been appointed Royal Patron of Rockinghorse. The news came as part of a visit by the Princess in July to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, which was opened by Her Royal Highness in 2007.

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, the Princess made a special trip to Sussex to visit the children’s hospital, meeting with staff, young patients and their parents. The commemorative visit marks not only 50 years of Rockinghorse as the hospital’s official fundraising arm, but 10 years of the ‘new’ Alex.

The announcement completes a unique double for the Princess – who is The Queen’s cousin – having been the original children’s hospital Patron since 1954. Rockinghorse is now one of the only Sussex-based charities to hold Royal Patronage. Her Royal Highness takes over patronage of Rockinghorse from Lady Mary Herries – the Princess’ Lady-in-Waiting for over 50 years – who sadly passed away in April. Lady Mary was our one and only Patron in half a century, having duly accepted the invitation from Dr Trevor Mann back in 1967 upon formation of Rockinghorse.

At the Royal reception, the Princess unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark her visit (pictured above). Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse, presented Princess Alexandra with a specially commissioned diamond and gold Rockinghorse brooch, handmade by Brighton jewellers Posh Totty Designs, which she announced she will treasure.

Mr Heal said: “We were honoured to be awarded the visit by Princess Alexandra at such a prominent time in both the charity’s and hospital’s history. It has been a truly momentous occasion and I thank all of our supporters.”


The Royal Alexandra Childrens Hospital
We’re providing funding for an Asthma Clinical Trial to support children who suffer from the disease. The study is expected to benefit thousands of children in Sussex every year who suffer from Asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children and affects around one-million youngsters in the UK. Children with the disease can suffer from school absences and need regular hospital admissions, so this trial will aim to improve asthma control in young patients.

Tudor House
Providing short breaks for young people who have severe learning disabilities and complex needs, Tudor House in Brighton has welcomed the addition of a garden log cabin. We’ve been raising funds to provide the care home with much needed additional leisure space for its residents to enjoy. The cabin benefits from additional sensory and soft play equipment that is being used as a quiet and safe space away from the busier environment in the main house.

Chailey Heritage Foundation, The D.R.E.A.M. Centre
We’ve pledged £50,000 towards a purpose built all-weather indoor activity centreat Chailey Heritage in Lewes called The D.R.E.A.M. Centre. They have launched an appeal to raise £2.6million pounds to build a modern and vibrant indoor activity space where children and young people with disabilities and health needs can participate in a mixture of arts and physical activities.


“It’s hard to imagine it has been a year since we launched our 50th anniversary appeal. Giving ourselves a target of £500,000, we set about our fundraising efforts to make our partner beneficiaries dreams become a reality. “Since our appeal began YOU have helped us raise our half a million pounds target! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to each and every one of you who have contributed to this hugely
collective effort.

“Our remaining 50th anniversary projects are underway at various stages of development and will reach their own completion dates across 2018. We look forward to sharing more of that good news with you in due course.

“Finally, in thanking each of our supporters from across Sussex, I would like to publicly thank the Rockinghorse team for their dedication and commitment throughout the year in fundraising, marketing, administering and delivery this memorable appeal.”