Published: 13/10/2016 16:05:50
LADY HARRIS GOES FOR GOLD BEFORE SHE HANDS OVER THE REINS
How long have you been involved with the AHT and how did you get involved with the Equestrian Awards?
I have my husband to thank for my initial involvement with the AHT, as he completed some work on the new library in Newmarket with fellow trustee Lord Kirkham. I was introduced to their pioneering efforts in veterinary research and treatments in the Small Animal and Equine Clinics. Being an animal lover and owner myself, I instantly felt drawn to be more involved and help their fight against disease and injury in our beloved companion animals. I was invited to join the AHT Industry Committee and when the opportunity arose for a new Chairman of the annual Equestrian Awards, I knew this was the perfect position for me to call others to action and contribute to the AHT’s tireless cause.
What makes this year’s event particularly special?
This year is particularly special; firstly because it is my final year as Chairman. This will be my third Equestrian Awards and I’m hoping I continue my good fortune of each year being better than the last, and will be able to go out on a huge high! And secondly, we have had such a wonderful result from all our equestrian disciplines this summer in Rio so there are so many achievements to celebrate and a huge selection of deserving winners nominated in each category to be especially proud of. Some of our Gold medallists from Rio will be attending, which adds a vast amount of excitement to the event, as well as our celebrity hosts ‘the voice of Olympia’ Nick Brooks-Ward and racing’s Zoey Bird.
What can your guests expect from the Awards?
Tremendous fun, good food, dancing and the rare chance to rub shoulders with the equestrian stars of the past, present and future. The Dorchester Hotel is the most stunning venue and the perfect setting for the Awards. Whether you attend with your colleagues, horse loving friends, or find yourself making new ones, the evening has always been a must in any equestrian fanatic’s diary.
Which award are you most looking forward to being presented and why?
The Special Award is given to someone who has gone above and beyond for the good of the horse or the equine industry, and this year as it is being given to someone who has been a long-time supporter of the AHT behind the scenes; it is one that I feel most proud to present.
Have you set yourself a target for how much you would like the event to raise?
It is difficult to say how much will be raised each year, as so much relies on the support of both our silent online auction which anyone can join in, and the live auction on the night. We of course hope that our guests and all AHT supporters will be brave and bold in their bidding to help us push the total beyond that of last year, however, I would hope somewhere close to £100,000 to declare the event a success in raising vital funds for the AHT.
What do you hope this money would be able to achieve at the AHT?
There has been a continual increase in demand on the services and expertise provided by the AHT. The referral clinics are more often than not working at maximum capacity, our diagnostics teams are processing tests and samples from across the world, our researchers are continually seeking funds to investigate diseases to then provide the clinics with the best options for improving techniques and treatments available for all our pets. To keep the AHT at the forefront of veterinary advances, updating the facilities and equipment is always a high priority, especially with the growing demand from clients.
What have you most enjoyed about planning the Equestrian Awards?
Well, having committee meetings as an excuse to have lunch at the Dorchester has been lovely! But planning events is all about delivering an evening to remember – watching all of your guests enjoying themselves, your winners celebrating, the bidding wars over auction items and then the wonderful feedback when it’s all over. It’s a real sense of achievement and pride in helping the AHT.
Do you have any advice for your successor for next year?
I felt that after three years it was a good time to stand back and let someone else take over as it is important with events that you keep them fresh and try new ideas. My sponsors have been very supportive over the last three years, but naturally it’s time for a change. The committee needs to be fun and full of enthusiasm to help sell tickets and advertising, and introduce the event to new people. I won’t deny it’s a challenge, but it’s such a rewarding team and event to be a part of – I wish them continuing success with this event.
To find out more about tickets, the nominees and to bid on some amazing auction lots, visit: http://www.aht.org.uk/equestrianawards
Spending your money wisely
From every £1 you give
us we spend 93p
fighting disease and
injury in animals.
We use the remaining 7p
to raise the next £1.