The drive was 9 miles on quiet local lanes, including over 3 miles on unsurfaced byways through Coates Common & Sutton Common, with refreshment stops at Tripps Hill and the White Horse pub at Sutton… With the kind permission of Lady Mersey, the drive was allowed to pass through Bignor Park, with a stop at Bignor House to view the 200-year old stables – now carefully restored retaining original features whilst allowing them to become a conference and wedding venue.
Nine turnouts took part, with Friesian horses dominating the breeds in harness, driven by Joanne Hartland, Jimmy Hyatt, Tabe Anema and Sarah Cockram. A mixture of other horses and ponies were driven by Rowley Ruffle, Jason Vine, Di Keats, & Dr. Juan Mason, with Louise Nicholson & Jim Hailstone sharing the driving of ‘Billy’, a young Dartmoor Hill pony on his first drive. The drivers and backsteppers came from a variety of places, including Bishops Waltham, Liphook, Chichester and Horsham. A number of supporters turned up to see the drive away and rejoin the group at the various stops en route, including Fred Matthews, a well-known carriage driver in the area.
A total of £181.29 was donated by the turnout teams and well-wishers in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Everyone enjoyed the drive so much that there calls for a repeat before too long.