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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Almost unbearable: Kayley Woollacott opens up on death of husband

Richard Woollacott: trainer of Beer Goggles died in January
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Kayley Woollacott has revealed how a gruelling hike with her family to raise money for three charities in memory of her late husband, trainer Richard Woollacott, has helped her deal with his death.

Woollacott completed the Welsh 3,000s Challenge last weekend to raise funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund, Devon Air Ambulance and Mind, the mental health charity.

She said about the challenge: "It was horrendously tough but I learned a lot while we were walking through the beautiful mountain scenery of Wales and it was an opportunity to vent a lot of emotions."

Richard Woollacott, who trained Beer Goggles to win the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last season, was found dead in January.

In emotional scenes at Aintree in April his wife, who took over the licence, trained Lalor to win the Grade 1 Top Novices' Hurdle.

Lalor and Richard Johnson on the way to victory at Aintree

Explaining her reasons for taking on the challenge, she wrote on her fundraising page: "Death is an incredibly sad thing. When you lose someone in your family it's extremely tough, but knowing someone chose to leave is almost unbearable.

"Trying to understand how that could happen takes up a lot of time and energy, both mentally and physically, but no matter how much time and energy you invest in asking the question of why, you will never truly know the answer – he’s not coming back to explain.

"Guilt is something that has affected us all. Since Richard left us we've all had to come to terms with thinking that we shoulda, woulda, coulda and discussed at length all the ifs, buts, maybes in the world. But with help and support of one another we are coming to terms with what happened.

Kayley Woollacott: "Since Richard left us we've all had to come to terms with thinking that we shoulda, woulda, coulda"
"The frightening thing is just how common it is, with 84 men a week taking their own life because they suffer with a mental health illness. It is slowly becoming more common to speak out about mental illness but it is still not being discussed in the same way you’d talk about other life-debilitating physical illnesses like cancer. Why not?

"There is nothing more we can do for Richard. As we’ve explained to his youngest daughter, he’s riding horses in the sky. He is free and he didn’t do it to imprison us in guilt, anger and sadness. All we can do now is forgive him and ourselves."

Woollacott and her family's latest efforts take the total raised for the three charities past £45,000 and, having had time for only one four-mile training walk, Woollacott found tackling all 15 mountains in Wales over 3,000 feet high within three days, covering a total distance of 62 kilometres of grassland mixed with very rocky and exposed climbs, a tough ordeal.

Woollacott, who was supported by several members of her family, including daughter Arabella, said: "We chose to do something as a family, a challenge that very nearly broke us all both mentally and physically. It was a challenge in every sense of the word but it showed how much support we have for one another and what amazing things can be achieved as a team.

"We can’t thank the hundreds of people who have helped us enough. There have been so many lovely people donating and supporting us either through money or doing their own challenges for our chosen charities. It was only right we did something too."


You can donate to Kayley Woollacott's fundraising efforts and read more here


 

The frightening thing is just how common it is, with 84 men a week taking their own life because they suffer with a mental health illness
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