Neptune Collonges and the Jockey Club celebrate 20 years with Alder Hey

Neptune Collonges and the Jockey Club celebrate 20 years with Alder Hey

Neptune Collonges and the Jockey Club celebrate 20 years with Alder Hey

8th Apr 2022

The Grand National jockeys paid a visit to Alder Hey for the first time since the pandemic to celebrate the 20 years anniversary with Alder Hey Children’s Charity and the Jockey Club.

2012 Grand National winner Neptune Collonges was also at hand to meet and greet some of our children and young people as well as our staff.


The group were led this year by world famous jockeys including Harry and Bridget Skelton, Joe Anderson, Brian Hughes, as well as Alder Hey Charity Champion Mick Fitzgerald and racing legend Ruby Walsh. 

Before the pandemic, the Grand National jockeys traditionally visit Alder Hey to meet the children, families, and staff on the Friday morning before the National. But because of the pandemic, visits have had to be limited to virtual calls. 

This year, the jockeys were still not able to go onto the ward or clinical areas but, alongside Neptune Collonges, they were able to spend time in one of the gardens meeting and speaking to our families and staff. 

They also visited the site of Sunflower House, which is Alder Hey’s new tier four inpatient mental health unit, which is due to open this year.

Donations at this year’s Grand National Festival will go towards Alder Hey’s 7in10 mental health appeal, which will look to create the best possible child friendly environment for young patients including funding for facilities for Sunflower House. 


Fiona Ashcroft, CEO of Alder Hey Children’s Charity said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Jockey Club today and celebrate our incredible 20 years partnership with them. It is the first time we have been able to welcome them at the hospital for two years because of the Covid restrictions. Our children and young people and staff were thrilled to meet Neptune Collonges and bring that Grand National magic to Alder Hey.

“We would also like to thank the Jockey Club and the John Hales for bringing Neptune Collonges along and making it a day to remember for everyone at Alder Hey.”

This year, former Alder Hey patient Betty Batt is the honorary 41st runner at the National. Betty will see her name appear around the racecourse and in the racecard, alongside the 40 horses taking part in the £1 million race. Betty was born weighing just 650 grams and spent the first 13 months of her life in hospital. The initiative will help raise awareness and funds for Alder Hey, which is treated Betty and has supported her family for years. 

Last year, inspirational Liverpool teenager Lydia Barker was named as the honorary 41st runner. The then-19-year-old struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for years but is studying to be a paediatric nurse and looks forward to a career helping other young people with mental health issues.

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