Isla’s challenge raises £3,000 for welfare of ponies

A YOUNG girl with a rare genetic condition has raised nearly £3,000 to help feed and look after the ponies at Chobham’s Riding for the Disabled Association group.

Isla Williams on her Tomcat Fizz special tricycle

Seven-year-old Isla Williams was sponsored to ride her special tricycle 50 times around Windlesham’s recreation ground – and has collected around 12 times her targeted amount.

She was inspired by the golden anniversary challenge put out by Quest RDA at Laris Farm, which asked people to do 50 special things to raise money to support its work.

Isla, a pupil at Valley End Infant School, received the trike from the Chobham-based Children With Special Needs Foundation four years ago. She has FOP, an incurable condition which means her body is forming a second skeleton that severely affects her mobility.

She has had a lot of fun with outings on the trike and has also enjoyed riding the ponies at Quest since the age of four.

Isla lives with mum Nicky, stepdad James and sister Hettie near the Windlesham Field of Remembrance.

“She was incredibly, very, very determined to raise some money for Quest when she heard about the challenge,” said Nicky. “She quickly decided to ride her trike 50 times around the field.

“She had heard about one of the Quest ponies she had been riding needing an operation for a twisted gut and how expensive that was. She loves riding, as it gives her the freedom of movement she otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Isla enjoying a ride on a Quest RDA pony at Laris Farm

Isla’s fundraising was boosted after she and Nicky were interviewed about her achievement on the new GB News television channel on Thursday last week. Many viewers contributed money via her online fundraising page.

The feature in the “good news” section of Michelle Dewberry’s show also raised awareness of Isla’s condition, which has already led to her having little movement in her upper body and shoulders.

Quest chairman Julie Jones said the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the group’s fundraising. “We have still had to meet the costs of keeping our six horses, as well as the extra costs of making the group COVID safe,” she added.

“With annual costs of £40,000, the wonderful efforts of Isla and the other participants in our challenge will help enormously.”

To support Isla’s fundraising feat, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com and search for Isla’s 50 Lap Trike Challenge.

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