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What to Expect from this Year's Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse

Macmillan volunteer fundraiser York Race Course 2022
What's on
May 2023
Reading time 4 Minutes

Entering its 52nd year, the annual Macmillan Charity Raceday at York Racecourse has raised £9.6 million and become the UK's oldest and most successful charitable raceday event

The Macmillan Charity Raceday is the charity's single biggest day for generating donations across the UK. As it returns on 17th June, Living North finds out what visitors can expect.
York Racecourse York Racecourse
York Racecourse York Racecourse

For more than half a century (since 1971) York Races has supported Macmillan Cancer Support and other charities, raising vital funds to help those living with cancer. In addition, it offers the best-known sprint handicaps for three-year-old horses in Europe, drawing crowds of up to 29,000 on the day.

Donations come from extensive fundraising around the event. With over 100 Macmillan volunteers involved in bucket collection, selling raffle tickets, highlighting the many contactless donation points, as well as generating awareness of the sign and symptoms of cancer and supporting pioneering cancer care across the region. There are also major donor events across Friday and into raceday on Saturday.

In addition, there are a number of raceday associated challenges and other fundraising events including the tandem sky diving fundraiser the Jump of Their Lives and the Ride of Their Lives involving 12 intrepid amateur flat racing jockeys who intensively train for six months prior to raceday that has raised over £1.5 million.

Read More: In Conversation with York Racecourse’s James Brennan

Jump of their lives jumpers at JOTL 2022 Jump of their lives jumpers at JOTL 2022

It offers the best-known sprint handicaps for three-year-old horses in Europe drawing crowds of up to 29,000 on the day. The team at York Racecourse swells from 100 to 1,500 with all the catering, additional services and volunteers needed for the large crowds. William Derby chief executive of York Racecourse says: ‘We are so proud of our partnership with Macmillan which has raised approaching £10 million over the last five decades.

‘Macmillan Charity Raceday continues to evolve, and we are delighted to introduce this scheme whereby racegoers can further directly support Macmillan in the knowledge that just by booking to attend the raceday, not only are they helping raise funds for Macmillan but they are also enabling a member of the wider Macmillan community, whether they be a nurse, carer or volunteer, to enjoy a day at York Racecourse. We hope this Proper Thank You Bank will create a very special atmosphere on what is British Racing’s largest charity raceday and Macmillan’s biggest single fundraising event.’

For the first time ever every four tickets sold for this year’s 52nd Macmillan Charity Raceday on 17th June will generate a free admission for the Proper Thank You Bank so hardworking Macmillan nurses, carers, volunteers, other NHS workers, blue light staff and other worthy causes can enjoy a day at the races as a ‘Proper Thank You’ for their inspirational work. The Proper Thank You is in addition to 20 percent of admission fees being donated to Macmillan and other charities on the day.

Macmillan’s new chief executive Gemma Peters, who is spending the day at York Racecourse on 17th June to lend her support, says: ‘What a generous offer! Huge thanks to the York Racecourse team for making this happen. I hope ‘The Proper Thank You Bank’ will mean that more of our hardworking nurses, carers, and volunteers can have a much-deserved break and enjoy this historic event.

‘There are 216,000 people living with cancer in Yorkshire and the Humber, and the money raised at the event will contribute towards the vital support that Macmillan provides in the region.’

It is estimated that the number of people living with cancer will rise to more than 308,000 in Yorkshire and Humberside over the next seven years. As a result, Macmillan has already invested heavily in the county’s cancer workforce, providing cancer care now and building a cancer care system that is fit for the future; 42 new clinical nurse specialist roles have already been created as a result of Macmillan investing £4.5 million across Yorkshire and the North East.

Katie Yockney, who was able to attend last year’s raceday, helped establish the Macmillan Advanced Specialist Practitioner role working in care homes across Barnsley to support residents at the end of their life. Katie started in the role in 2018 and worked with care home residents and their families to identify their end of life care needs and consider their wishes and preferences.

She says: ‘When you’re diagnosed with cancer, having the right support makes all the difference and for most of us that means someone you can trust to help you understand your diagnosis and treatment, advise you on pain and symptom management and guide you every step of the way – this is the role of the Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Read More: How Yorkshire Children’s Charity are Helping Our Most Disadvantaged Children

Macmillan volunteers on Macmillan Charity Raceday 2022 Macmillan volunteers on Macmillan Charity Raceday 2022
Katie Yockney with a colleague Janet at the 2022 Macmillan Charity Raceday Katie Yockney with a colleague Janet at the 2022 Macmillan Charity Raceday

‘Too many people across Yorkshire lack access to this specialist cancer care, with too few Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialists employed across the region. To address this issue Macmillan have invested over £2.7 million in Yorkshire to train and support the specialist cancer nurses of the future. We’re here to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can, providing physical, financial, and emotional support. With your support on Macmillan’s Charity Raceday we can continue to do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer.’

There will also be an army of Macmillan volunteer bucket collectors identified with their green buckets throughout the racecourse, together with raffle tickets, a nurses’ pledge, an auction and the ability to make contactless donations.

If you want information or just to chat call the national Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 0000 (seven days a week, 8am to 8pm) or visit

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