Charlie Thornycroft has received the Sir Colin Spedding Award for her dedication to the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund during 2022.

She was presented with the honour by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at the National Equine Forum (NEF) on 2 March. Charlie also received a standing ovation for her talk about her experiences providing vital aid to Ukraine’s equestrian sector with the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund.

Charlie set up and became the linchpin of the Polish supply hub, working in challenging and stressful situations to ensure 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, helping maximise the impact of the fund and saved the lives of many horses.

Prior to being announced as winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award, Charlie gave the NEF Memorial Lecture, where 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. Examples included single handedly unloading 40-tonne lorries containing aid deliveries, securing the kindest possible deaths for catastrophically injured horses and providing a safe place of refuge for struggling people as well as their horses.

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.

“I am truly humbled by the response in the auditorium and the comments I have received,” she said after the event. “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, click here 

Lead image: Charlie Thornycroft receiving the Sir Colin Spedding Award, presented by HRH The Princess Royal, President of the National Equine Forum. Credit: Craig Payne Photography

Check out our subscription offer

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue