Grantham schoolgirl and dad embark on 108 mile horse ride

Paul and Emmie Towns prepare for their 108 mile horse ride.
Paul and Emmie Towns prepare for their 108 mile horse ride.
Have your say

A father and daughter will be marking Easter and raising money by going on a 108 mile, five day horse ride from Harby in Leicestershire to Walsingham in Norfolk.

Paul Towns and his 15-year-old daughter Emmie, who is a student at Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, plan to complete up to 25 miles a day riding their horses Rami and Tigre.

They will start their Easter expedition at 9am on Monday, April 14, at St Mary the Virgin Church in Harby, and aim to reach their finishing point of Walsingham’s famous shrine on Good Friday.

Not only is the journey a pilgrimage lay minister Paul has always wanted to do, but Emmie is raising sponsorship money to enable her to go on a special trip to perform charitable work in India.

Paul explained: “Firstly I am there to support Emmie, and then there is the religious aspect of us arriving on Good Friday.”

Moreover Paul, who works at several Anglican churches in the Vale of Belvoir, is looking forward to spending some quality time with his daughter, and added: “These days we are all so busy working in our lives that it is all too easy to suddenly see our children have grown up and left home.”

As well as the encouragement of Paul’s wife Helen and their two younger children Monty and Hattie, the Towns family have been delighted at the level of support local people living along their route have offered, including free use of stables for their horses, accommodation for themselves, and permission to traverse fields.

On their first day they will ride south of Grantham, Emmie on Tigre, a Dutch warmblood measuring 16 hands three, and Paul on Czech warmblood Rami measuring 17 hands two.

Plans have been made to ensure food and water is provided for the two 13-year-old horses throughout the journey, and a recent practice trip in which they achieved 22 miles in five hours has ensured both riders and their steeds are prepared.

In addition to the kindness of those helping them during their five day horse ride, Emmie is thrilled that generous sponsors have already raised half of the money she needs to carry out charity work in India.

She is one of 16 girls chosen by the school to help with a sustainable community project, aimed at improving the lives of disabled people who have been abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

Over three weeks during the summer of 2015, Emmie and her fellow students will provide assistance in southern India, in a trip arranged by KGGS and the organisation Outlook Expeditions.

For this reason Emmie and Paul have called their challenge ‘India Via Norfolk’, as they hope their horse ride of 108 miles will enable Emmie to fly thousands of miles further by raising the required £3,500.

More information on the charity project and how to sponsor Emmie, as well as details of the route she and her father will take from Harby to Walsingham, are at the website, which has been especially created by Emmie’s brother Monty, and will also include a blog of their journey next week.