Charlotte Thornycroft wins NEF Sir Colin Spedding Award and receives standing ovation - Veterinary Practice
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Charlotte Thornycroft wins NEF Sir Colin Spedding Award and receives standing ovation

At the National Equine Forum 2023, Charlotte Thornycroft was awarded the Sir Colin Spedding Award for her work with British Equestrians for Ukraine

Charlotte “Charlie” Thornycroft was announced as the winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award at last week’s National Equine Forum (NEF) on 2 March 2023.

She was presented with the Award by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

The Sir Colin Spedding Award was given to Charlotte Thornycroft in recognition of her dedication and support for the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund during 2022.

Her citation read: “Initially setting up and then becoming the linchpin of the Polish supply hub, Charlie worked selflessly in challenging and extraordinarily stressful situations to ensure that aid got to where it was needed most, while managing the care and evacuation of horses from war-torn areas.

“She continued to coordinate the delivery of relief supplies on her return to the UK and without doubt helped maximise the impact of the fund and saved the lives of very many horses.”

Before being announced as winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award, Charlotte Thornycroft took the NEF audience on a heart-rending journey by giving the NEF Memorial Lecture, in conversation with Alec Lochore.

She described some of the horrors of working in a war zone and how she was driven to take on practical tasks when no alternative solutions were available, often working through the night to meet the need.

She helped to evacuate horses and their families from Ukraine to Poland, where they ran a temporary hub, finding them safe passage and homes across Europe, America and even Dubai.

She has also been involved with U-Aid – a humanitarian charity set up by a fellow volunteer to help people unable to leave the country due to disability, age or having lost their families.

All her work was facilitated via the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund.

Charlotte Thornycroft was given a standing ovation at the end of her talk – the first time this has ever happened in the event’s 31-year history.

It was a complete surprise to her when she was announced as the Award winner, to rapturous applause from the audience.

After the event Charlotte Thornycroft said: “I am truly humbled by the response in the auditorium and the comments I have received.

“It was a huge team effort and one where I was lucky to be a small cog who saw the highs and lows firsthand. A truly life changing year.

“Thank you all for your support of both the Ukrainian Fund and of me. There is still a great need for support given that the situation in Ukraine remains so desperate for so many.”

To make a donation to British Equestrians for Ukraine visit the website.

The NEF replay will be available from today (Wednesday 8 March) for three weeks, free to all those who were registered for either the face-to-face event or the live streaming, and available for £20 for those who want to watch for the first time.

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