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Long-faced fundraiser to give up horsing around for good
A madcap fundraiser, too long in the tooth to continue organising events, is looking for another zany jockey to take the reins.
Mark Biddiss, who runs the Greenwich Charity Pantomime Horse Race, has collected thousands for Demelza Hospice Care for Children through his hilarious challenges.
But the 39-year-old, who also organises the ludicrous Greenwich’s Got No Talent show, has announced this year will be his last in the events management saddle.
He will end his charitable career with the third annual panto horse pub crawl, and hopes to find someone just as passionate to continue the good work in his beloved borough.
Mark told Vibe: “I’m hanging up my boots – I think I’ve done enough.
“I’m turning 40 next year and I want to grow up.
“I’ve been doing these events for some years and I think I deserve a break.
“I really want to give someone else the opportunity and pass the baton.”
The Charity Pantomime Horse Race, which takes place just before Christmas, sees around 20 comedy stallions take on drinking challenges at several Greenwich pubs starting at The Rose and Crown.
Last year, hundreds of people turned up to wish the horses well at their starting point of Davenport House, raising £2,300 through donations and horse sponsorships.
Mark hopes his swansong event on December 23 this year will raise a record-breaking £5,000.
He added: “It’s a whole other event at Davenport House – we can get up to 1,000 people there.
“I’m hoping for celebrity guests, face painting and stalls.
“Then everyone will see the horses kicking off the race.
“This year I think we’ll have a potential T-Rex racing, along with some other organisms, like vegetables.
“It will be a four-legged race, two-legged, or no-legged race.”
Since Mark began the hysterical, drunken event, fancy dress shop Mad World in Old Street have seen a surge in pantomime horse rentals.
“They’ve had so much interest in the event, they’ve made 10 more panto horse costumes.” Mark added.
“It’s a unique idea and all the money is going to hospices.
“After the second one, it blew up and lots of companies are holding their own races now.”
Mark is looking for local companies to sponsor the pantomime horses this year to help reach his ambitious target for Demelza.
Firms will be able to buy a horse, which will be covered with their logos, for a minimum of £100.
They can choose to nominate an employee to compete in the race, dressed as a panto pony, or one of Mark’s volunteers will run for them.
“The idea is to raise as much for the hospice as possible.” Mark continued.
“Companies in Greenwich will get a big PR boost from this and thousands of people will see their brand on the horses.
“I want to go out on a good high.
“It’s all about giving something back.
“The horse race shows community spirit is alive and well in Greenwich.
“It’s a cold December day and so many people come out to see it.
“It makes Greenwich stand out and I hope there’s someone out there who wants to keep it going.
“Nay the horse be with you.”
To get in touch with Mark about sponsoring a horse, or taking over his events, visit pantohorserace.org