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8th Apr 2016
Legendary champion jockey Sir AP McCoy joined Grand National jockeys and 2012 Grand National winner Neptune Collonges on a memorable visit to the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital today.
Recently knighted Sir AP McCoy, who is a Patron of Alder Hey Children’s Charity, was joined by fellow Patron Mick Fitzgerald, racing horse owner John Hales, over a dozen jockeys involved in this year’s race meeting at Aintree and the 2012 winner of the Grand National, Neptune Collonges.
The jockey’s visit to Alder Hey is one of the highlights of the Aintree races but this year was extra special as they visited the new Alder Hey hospital for the first time. The new state-of-the-art hospital, Europe’s first hospital in a park, opened in 2015.
The jockeys were greeted on arrival and given a tour of the world class facilities by Alder Hey patients Jess Weaver and Kenzie Appleton, who have both supported a major fundraising drive for the new hospital. One of the most memorable moments of the visit involved young oncology patient Erin Cross, who presented Sir AP McCoy with a card and gift to congratulate him on his recent knighthood. 5 ½ year old Erin from Chester dressed up as a knight especially for the occasion!
Neptune Collonges once again stole the show with many patients, families and even jockeys keen to have their picture taken with the former Grand National champion.
Jess Weaver said: “We loved meeting Sir AP McCoy and all the jockeys too. My favourite part was meeting Neptune Collonges, he is amazing!”
Sir AP McCoy said: “It was absolutely fantastic to visit the amazing new hospital. It is always special to visit Alder Hey and it’s always important to me that as many jockeys as possible take the time to visit here during Grand National weekend. I have been a Patron of Alder Hey for a long time. It’s an amazing place providing unbelievable care and the children we meet are always an inspiration.”
Mick Fitzgerald said: “I really enjoy coming here every year. Everyone from the kids to the parents to the staff are really amazing. I don’t know if I would be as strong as they are. I have nothing but admiration for them.”
One of the busiest children’s hospitals in Europe, Alder Hey treats over 275,000 children and young people every year, and opened a new state-of-the-art facility in October 2015. Alder Hey Children’s Charity have invested over £20m towards the new hospital and continues to raise much needed funds for childhood research and patient experience initiatives.
Cath Harding from Alder Hey Children’s Charity said: “It is always so lovely to see all the jockeys and to welcome our Patrons Sir AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald into our new hospital for the first time.
“I know our families and staff always look forward to their annual visit and it means so much to us that they take the time to come along. Thank you to the Jockey Club, Great British Racing, John Hales and all the jockeys for keeping this wonderful tradition going and making another magical day at Alder Hey possible.”
Alder Hey Children's Charity