Rockinghorse CEO recognised at Community Stars Awards

Local newspaper The Argus, held the Community Stars Awards on Sunday 21 January, recognising the outstanding achievements of men, women, children and organisations in Sussex.

Held at the Brighton Dome and hosted by presenter and news reader, Fred Dinenage, the ceremony, sponsored by British Airways i360, highlighted the shining stars in our community, in 20 award categories across the afternoon. We are very proud to announce that Rockinghorse CEO, Ryan Heal, was awarded the honour of Outstanding Contribution to Sussex!

Host Fred Dinenage, explained how Ryan grew up in Brighton, and prior to his work at Rockinghorse, was Managing Director of the local radio station, Brighton’s Juice 107.2. His transition to Rockinghorse was prompted by his son John, who became very ill, and so he and his family became regular visitors to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital – of which we are the official fundraising arm.

In September 2012 when our charity was in search of a new Chief Executive, Ryan brought his formidable contacts and fundraising abilities to the post and has been a driving force behind our success over the past five and a half years.

2017 marked the 50th year of Rockinghorse, having been founded by Dr Trevor Mann back in 1967. As part of our Golden Jubilee celebrations, we set a fundraising target of £500,000 worth of funding to support projects at 10 children’s centres and paediatric services across Sussex.

Joining host Fred Dinenage on stage to collect the award, Ryan was asked how Rockinghorse’s 50th year fundraising went, and if we achieved our £500,000 target. Ryan proudly said, “We did do it! We smashed our target and ended up raising £550,000 which we are absolutely thrilled with. We are so grateful for all the wonderful support received from so many people.”

Asked by Fred what the future holds, Ryan continued, “We’ve got to keep on going! We used the Golden Jubilee as a landmark to celebrate 50 wonderful years, since Dr Trevor Mann started Rockinghorse back in the late sixties. With the support of the local community, we are able to achieve our goals and help so many hundreds of children and their families.”

He added, “Unfortunately, children getting poorly isn’t linked to special anniversaries or Golden Jubilees – they’ll be another 50,000 admissions in to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital this year, just as there were 52,000 last year. We continue to need the help of our local community to support us. I’ve been very proud to lead a great team at Rockinghorse, with the aim to make a better contribution and to support those who need our help the most. I am absolutely thrilled with this award – it’s the highlight of my career.”

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