The Jockey Club has formed an agreement with UK children’s charity WellChild, which has seen the organisation become the title sponsor of the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup race.
WellChild follows Irish cider brand Magners as the sponsor of the event. The brewer initially held a three-year contract with the Jockey Club, but this was terminated a year early.
Under the terms of the partnership, WellChild’s operations will be promoted throughout the duration of the racing festival from 16-19 March, and the Gold Cup will be branded as the WellChid Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“WellChild plays a vital role in our society supporting seriously ill children and young people, and those who care for them,” said Ian Renton, the Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director at Cheltenham Racecourse.
“Their services have been needed more than ever during the pandemic and we are very proud indeed to help such an important charity amongst our communities, including in Cheltenham.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Magners for their support in 2019 and 2020, and express our gratitude to our various and valued partners who have retained their involvement with The Festival in 2021 and those we are welcoming for the first time.”
The charity is headquartered in Cheltenham but active nationwide, providing support for seriously ill children. It’s income was severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, losing 60% of its projected earnings.
It has also had to meet a sudden demand for help from families struggling to deliver round-the-clock care to their children whilst in lockdown, and has now delivered more than 289,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items to over 1,000 vulnerable households throughout the UK.
Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild, remarked: “As a national charity with its headquarters in Cheltenham, we are thrilled to have been invited to work with The Jockey Club, particularly around an event as iconic as The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.
“This has been a challenging year for our organisation and the families we support, many of whom have felt hidden and isolated more than ever before. However, we have responded at every turn to ensure that families have access to the support and equipment they need to thrive at home.
“This partnership will bring a much-needed boost to our organisation after a challenging period and will help to ensure that we are ready to respond again in 2021 and beyond.”
The Jockey Club intends to build awareness and encourage donations for the charity, and the partners plan to launch a series of sponsorship activities in the build-up to the festival as well as over the four days of racing.
This will include a competition to inspire children who are currently home schooling due to the pandemic to showcase their creativity.
“I have been an ambassador for WellChild for nearly ten years,” added Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing’s Lead Presenter and WellChild Ambassador,
“When I was being treated in Southampton Hospital the children’s cancer ward was next door and broke my heart. If I recovered I vowed to support a charity that got children treated at home, rather than a hospital ward.
“The work WellChild do from their headquarters in Cheltenham with seriously ill children is truly remarkable. They, like all charities, have had a brutal year and I’m so thrilled about this partnership. It combines two of the passions in my life: WellChild and the Cheltenham Festival.”