Children's charity WellChild announced as new Cheltenham Gold Cup partner
WellChild – a national charity for seriously ill children – has been revealed as supporter of this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup in a new charity partnership announced by the Jockey Club.
In 2021, the race will be known as the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup as the charity takes over from Magners, who sponsored the race in 2019 and 2020. The race's prize-money of £468,750 stays the same despite the change.
Magners had originally agreed a three-year deal to sponsor the Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup, with the option of an additional year's extension, but that contract has come to an end a year early.
It was revealed in December the Irish cider brand would not renew its sponsorship, and the Jockey Club would not disclose further details on the early end to the deal when contacted by the Racing Post on Thursday.
WellChild is a national charity based in Cheltenham which supports children and young people with serious illness, with a focus on supporting care from home instead of in hospitals.
Ian Renton, the Jockey Club's regional managing director for Cheltenham, said: "WellChild plays a vital role in our society supporting seriously ill children and young people, and those who care for them.
"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'd like to thank Magners for their support in 2019-20 and express our gratitude to our various and valued partners who have retained their involvement with The Festival in 2021. The Magners brand will no longer be promoted at The Festival which has made today’s announcement possible.
"We're now excited to support WellChild at the Festival and hope this is an important cause the whole racing industry can get behind.”
The partnership with the Jockey Club is to help raise awareness of the charity and fundraise for the charity – who reportedly lost 60 per cent of it's projected income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
ITV Racing presenter Ed Chamberlin has been a WellChild brand ambassador for almost ten years. He took inspiration to support the charity following his own experiences in hospital when battling stomach cancer.
He said: "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.”
Sir Anthony McCoy, who won the Gold Cup twice during his stellar career, also offered his support. He said: "What WellChild does is just so important and I’m really pleased that the best four days in our sport are being put forward to help. Racing is a charitable sport, full of generous people and I’m sure they’ll get right behind this. I’ll certainly support the charity in any way I can.”
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