Ottery’s community rally to support ‘brilliant’ jockey, Ed

PUBLISHED: 06:15 21 March 2016

Ottery-based jockey, Ed Barrett, suffered life-changing injuries in a fall

Ottery-based jockey, Ed Barrett, suffered life-changing injuries in a fall

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‘Lovely’ all-round horseman suffered life-changing injuries in racetrack accident

Ottery-based jockey, Ed Barrett, before he suffered life-changing injuries in a fallOttery-based jockey, Ed Barrett, before he suffered life-changing injuries in a fall

Ottery’s community is rallying to support a ‘brilliant’ young jockey who suffered life-changing injuries in a devastating racetrack accident.

Ed Barrett, 25, had only ever wanted to ride horses and it was at Ed and Polly Walker’s Holcombe Lane yard that he realised his dream – going on to achieve several wins - before his short career was bought to a shattering end in April 2015.

Described as a proper all-round horseman and a hard worker, Ed was competing in a Devon point-to-point race when he fell and broke his neck. Now wheelchair bound, he is currently receiving specialist treatment in Lambourn.

Emma Carpenter, 46, has known Ed since she taught him at the age of 12 and is one of many supporters raising money to enable him to set up home independently following his paralysis.

A teacher and former amateur jockey herself, Emma will be taking on the Welsh Ironman challenge on September 2, which entails a 2.5-mile sea swim, 112-mile cycle, followed by a 26-mile marathon.

Speaking about Ed, she said: “He was desperate to ride horses, so I sent him down to Ottery to work with my brother [Ed Walker], who trains racehorses and he was there for about five years learning the ropes.

“Ottery is home to him and the people there have been so supportive of him. They have already donated a huge amount of money.

“His life has changed forever and he is doing very well, but he is struggling mentally. He is only 25. He is quite embarrassed by people raising money for him, but we just want to support him in his time of need. This time last year, he was winning races at lots of places. He is stuck in one place while his friends are all out. The one thing that made him feel amazing – going on a horse – is probably never going to happen. He still considers himself lucky, though.”

Ed’s treatment is currently being paid for by the Injured Jockey’s Fund and Emma said improvement he has made there is much greater than other people he has met.

Ottery-based Polly Walker, known professionally as Polly Gundry, a racehorse trainer and former record-breaking point-to-point jockey, said: He was the most brilliant young lad. He rode around 20 to 30 winners and he was such a lovely, old-fashioned farmer’s lad. He was so keen and tried so hard to become an amateur jockey.

“We have never known anyone who worked harder than him. He was a proper all-round horseman.”

She said many of Ed’s friends from the area have been very supportive and there have been many collections and fundraising events in his honour to support him once he leaves Lambourn.

Emma has netted £3,300 of her £5,00 total so far.

To find our more about her fundraising efforts and to add support, visit: crowdfunding.justgiving.com/welshironman16fored.

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