Ferrets run up charity cash

BIRTHDAY TREAT: birthday TREAT: Lindsey Stevens, champion jockey, is pictured (centre), with James McKay and Anne Eyley. Submitted photo.

BIRTHDAY TREAT: birthday TREAT: Lindsey Stevens, champion jockey, is pictured (centre), with James McKay and Anne Eyley. Submitted photo.

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FERRET racing fans from all over north Derbyshire have helped raise more than £1,700 for charity.

The event collected cash to stage a flower festival and scarecrow trail at Ashover’s All Saints Church during the August Bank Holiday, when proceeds will be shared between the church and Ashgate Hospice.

More than 100 ferret fanciers, many in traditional flat caps and with their trouser legs tied up with string, flocked to Ashover Parish Hall for the race night which was staged by James McKay, director of the National Ferret School at nearby Holestone Gate Road.

“It was an absolutely hilarious evening,” said church flower guild co-ordinator Anne Eyley, who headed the organising team. “It was wonderful to see so many people having so much fun”.

Champion jockey of the evening was Lindsey Stevens who was taken to the event as a belated birthday present by her husband, village postmaster Duncan. The best-dressed ferret fancier prize went to Jack Higham.

As well as the racing, punters also enjoyed a pie and pea supper prepared by David Bown and Kath Dronfield.

Anne paid tribute to supporters who included the Primary Care Trust, principal event sponsor The Miners Arms at Milltown, and race sponsors The White Horse at Woolley Moor, Michael Tannert, The Old Poets Corner at Ashover, Peak Care Ltd, and Celia and Tom Kelly.

This month’s festival theme will be ‘Thank You for the Music’ in recognition of the classical musical concerts staged in the village for 32 years but which this year fell victim to spiralling production costs, the increasing difficulty of putting together an orchestra that could maintain the high standard of past performances and a shortage of younger volunteers to share the organisational burden.