Foundation Dinner 10th May 2016

 In News

The Jessica Bethell Charitable Foundation Gala Dinner was held at York Racecourse on May 10th and funds raised will support the Charitable Foundation set up in the name of Jessica Bethell.

Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, attended the dinner with 242 other distinguished guests.  At the beginning of the night guests were met with a champagne reception before being seated to enjoy James Bethells’ welcome speech and a fantastic three course dinner.  After dinner the Princess Royal delivered a heartfelt speech detailing the aims of the Foundation and her involvement with Racing Welfare and also her experience regarding Meningitis.

Compere and Auctioneer for the evening Matt Chapman then took to the mic as it was time for the Charity Auction, there were some amazing lots including a guitar signed by the who’s who of popular music, exclusive framed David Hockney print and a music score of ‘Yesterday’ signed by Sir Paul McCartney and Sir George Martin.  The lots raised some considerable sums and contributed to the overall sum of £70,000 raised from the dinner alone.

The charity aims to purchase and equip a house in Middleham for the use of all members of the racing fraternity from jockeys to stable lads and lasses to racing secretaries and grooms, in fact any one of the 200 or more who work in the industry in the village and the surrounding area.

As Middleham has no facilities for young people in both the racing and farming communities, the Foundation is working alongside Racing Welfare to purchase and establish a centre in Jessica’s name which will offer social interaction, IT, a gym, physio and subsidised food and much needed accommodation. The project will work closely with Racing Welfare who will deliver their services from the Centre and also Jack Berry by offering a local outreach support for stable staff that have undergone rehabilitation at the recently opened Jack Berry House.

Jessica’s father, James Bethell said “We wanted something good to come out of our daughter’s death.  This is a legacy she would have been proud of, she loved the world of racing and those who worked, as she did, within it.  We are very proud of our daughter who was well known and well liked in racing circles and we want her memory to live on through the Foundation”.

Sally Bethell, Jessica’s mother said “We are delighted that the Princess Royal has agreed to support our fundraising dinner.  Often people are very young when they come to racing and there is nothing to do except meet in the pub.  We want the house to be more than just a home from home but a place where young or old can seek help from everything from physical injuries to homesickness, or just enjoy a simple evening of socialising.  Richard Whiteley was very much a part of Jessica’s life as a close family friend and the tv/cinema room will be named in his honour.”

We are so grateful for your support in not only honouring Jessica but helping to raise funds for worthy causes.

For more information please contact Sally Bethell on





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