Shoppers help horsewoman Gayle in her Para Dressage bid

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Generous customers from Rutherfords of Morpeth department store helped to raise £500 to put disabled Northumberland horsewoman Gayle Bloomfield on the road to success.

Rutherfords rode to the rescue of Gayle to help her bid for glory in 2017 by hosting a special fund-raising event in association with cosmetics brand Clarins, at Barluga in Morpeth.

As well as enjoying the latest advice on skin care and make-up from beauty consultants, and refreshments, Rutherfords donated £5 from every ticket sold to help the Seahouses-based horsewoman achieve her competition dreams with her horse Lucca.

Store managing director Richard Rutherford chipped in with a generous donation to round the figure up to £500 for the inspirational mum-of-two, who hasn’t allowed multiple sclerosis to hold her back from becoming a top rider.

Gayle represented Great Britain at this year’s International Two-Star Para Dressage Championships in Bishop Burton, Hull.

She is hoping to be selected for Great Britain Para Dressage team next summer, but without sponsorship, she struggles to fund competing at top level as it costs her £15,000 a year for entry fees, insurance, feed, veterinary bills and travel expenses.

She had to pull out of competitions last summer due to the cost.

The donation from Rutherfords will help her go to qualifying competitions for the Summer Para Dressage Championships with Lucca, who is owned by her friend Rachel Callaghan, from Durham.

Gayle said: “It is difficult competing against the best riders when you are constantly worrying about money, and this gesture from Rutherfords will be a big help.

“It is a wonderful gesture by the store and I hope I can repay it by securing a place at the Summer Para Dressage Championships.”

Richard Rutherford said: “Gayle is an inspiration to many people because she hasn’t allowed disability to hold her back.

“We hope the donation will help her to fulfil some of her ambitions for 2017 and she will put Northumberland and Para Dressage on the map.

“Our customers were keen to support a great cause and really got behind and supported the event.”

Gayle is based at the Pegasus Centre, the home of Morpeth Riding for the Disabled Association, and is a role model to the dozens of disabled youngsters from all over Northumberland who enjoy the benefits of horse riding.