Hope springs eternal

Hope Alderson and Brad.
Hope Alderson and Brad.

AN epic journey on horseback across deserts and fields, riding for many miles a day in the sub-continent.

As Hope Alderson herself admits, it’s all ‘a bit scary’.

But it has not stopped the animal-loving 58-year-old setting her sights on an overseas fund-raising trek in aid of international animal welfare organisation the Brooke, which is dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the poorest communities in the world.

Next year, Hope, who lives just outside of Alnwick, is aiming to tackle the charity’s Indian Horse Riding Challenge.

The event, which runs from February 23 to March 4, will see participants ride between 20 and 40km each day, for six days across the spectacular state of Rajasthan and encounter terrain from soft and sandy desert and a salt water lake to farmland and hills.

They will sleep under canvass and the adventure will culminate with a visit to see the Brooke’s work near Delhi.

But to take part, Hope needs to raise more than £3,000.

And she is appealing to the public to sponsor her.

She said: “I set off for India just three days after my 59th birthday.

“I have never been on a long-haul flight before, let alone spent a week on a horse in India, so I am in for a few new, possibly terrifying experiences.

“I am a wuss at heart and it is a bit scary.

“But I have to say, I have enormous respect for the work of the Brooke – they have bases all over the Third World bringing desperately needed relief and support to animals who work in sometimes unimaginably awful conditions.

“Horses have given me so much joy over the years that I think it’s time to give something back and I would be so grateful for any help that people can give me.”

To help her fund-raising campaign, Hope will be at Monday’s Glendale Show, where she will have a stall to promote the work of the Brooke as well as the India trip.

She will also be selling prints taken from a painting by her famous great aunts, DM Alderson and EM Alderson, who were renowned artists in their native North Yorkshire during the early 20th century.

Earlier this month, Hope took one of the prints – taken from the Alderson twin’s painting of a chestnut horse – to BBC valuation show, Flog It! at Alnwick Castle, to see what it was worth and it was given a commercial value of £80.

Hope will be selling these prints at £49, or mounted for £60, at the Glendale Show, in aid of the India trek.

To sponsor Hope, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Hope-Alderson