Halifax man aims to de-throne the “neigh-ning champion” in Mascot Gold Cup 2014

A Calderdale man is swopping horsepower for leg power this week as he helps his employers be first past the post in a big race with a difference – the world’s largest mascot race!

When not working at the Swalesmoor-based Leo Group as a transport administrator, James Skelding, of Illingworth, is more used to racing around Donington Park on his motorbike than galloping around Wetherby Racecourse.

But this Sunday he is saddled with the hopes of the recycling and green energy company as he comes under starter’s orders in the world’s biggest mascot race.

Dressed as Sonny the Sunflower, James will be helping to boost the profile – and charity funds – of event organisers Sue Ryder, as he jockeys for position with more than 80 of the UK’s top mascots.

Between him and victory is in a one furlong race over eight fences, staged as part of the track’s annual “family day”.

It is the first time in the race for James, who competes when on two wheels in the No Limits Racing Championship under the name of “The Flying Duck”.

He said:

“Running with leg power instead of horse power at speeds never seen before at Wetherby, I am hoping that our famous flower will put all the competition in the shade and have his day in the sun as number one this weekend.”

Group Property manager for the Leo Group, Brian Maguire, said:

“We donated more than £200,000 to charities and good causes last year and Sue Ryder was among those to benefit.

“The work of the charity touches the lives of so many people at the heart of our local community that we are supporting them again this year.

“Running in their Mascot Gold Cup is one way in which we are doing so, with the aim of raising even more money than last year while having a fun at the same time.”

James’s efforts can be supported through the company’s fundraising page http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/LeoGroupLtd

Leo James Sonny and horse
James Skelding in his Leo Group mascot costume

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