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Saturday, 23 October 2021
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New Honorary Patron for Rockinghorse

AFTER eight successful years at the helm, Ryan Heal is made Honorary Patron of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity.

Ryan, 45, took charge of the Brighton & Hove based charity in September 2012 and revived its fortunes to lead it through one of the most successful periods in the charity’s 53-year history.

After such a successful tenure leading the team and making such a difference to sick children across Sussex, the Trustees of Rockinghorse felt that it was important to recognise Ryan’s achievements and thank him for all his hard work.

So, a small, socially distanced group of staff, trustees and supporters gathered at the Grand Hotel in Brighton to award Ryan a certificate and one of a kind pin badge, to commemorate his appointment as Honorary Patron.

New Honorary Patron for Rockinghorse
Ryan’s Honorary Patron Certificate and pin badge

Chair of Rockinghorse Trustees Phil Frier made a short speech to thank Ryan for all he had done to support the charity since 2012 before Ryan himself made an emotional speech thanking staff, supporters and trustees alike.

Along with thanking his professional colleagues, Ryan also paid tribute to his wife Anne and children Emma, Elizabeth and John, who joined him at the celebration.

Ryan also spoke about how John’s experience in hospital prompted his awareness of the charity that soon became a big part of his life:

“Rockinghorse will always hold a very special place in my heart. My son, John, was first admitted to the Royal Alex (the first of numerous admissions) aged 4 in 2011, and the nursing staff could just not get him still enough to insert a standard canular.

“This went on for some time until the 3-D Pain Distraction unit (fully funded by Rockinghorse) came into the room. On went the 3-D glasses, and he was away in a virtual reality, smiling as the nurse not only got the canular in but was able to take as much blood as she liked!

“This was the start of my Rockinghorse journey. I was amazed that this piece of ‘kit’ was fully funded by the charity. One year on from that initial experience, I was invited to become the charity’s Chief Executive and what an honour it has been. I have so many wonderful memories, it’s impossible to document them all.”

Rhian Walsh, Finance and Operations Director at Rockinghorse, praised the role that Ryan played in the development of the charity: 

“His passion and enthusiasm for Rockinghorse have made such an amazing impact on what we have been able to achieve over the last eight years, leading us to double our fundraising income without increasing our running costs.

“It’s also thanks to his leadership that we were able to raise over £600,000 last year despite the challenges that confronted us in March 2020.

“He’s always been such a wonderful ambassador for the charity, and we hope that in his new role as Honorary patron, he will continue to fly the flag for our wonderful charity.”

And whilst Ryan is moving onto the next stage of his career, running his own business consultancy and events business, he will never forget his time with the charity: 

“Rockinghorse will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I look forward to continuing to support Rockinghorse for many years to come.”

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