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Monday 22 September 2014

Video: Blind children trace the face of legendary Arkle

Statue of racehorse to be auctioned off for Childvision

Brian Byrne

Published 09/04/2014 | 14:26

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HE was considered the most famous Irish thoroughbred racehorse – and now Arkle has returned to pay a final tribute to the Irish people.

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To mark the 50th anniversary of his Cheltenham Gold win a miniature statue of Arkle will be auctioned off to raise money for ChildVision, the national education centre for blind children in Drumcondra, Co Dublin.

A scale model of the horse with legendary jockey Pat Taafe astride him will also be unveiled at Ashbourne in Co Meath attended by luminaries of the racing world Olympian Cian O’Connor and former jockey Willie Robinson on April 19.

Another of the 27 miniatures created by sculptor Emma McDermott to mark Arkle’s 27 race wins was the official gift from President Michael D. Higgins to the Queen during the state visit this week.

However, Ms McDermott said she is just as proud of the fact that the money raised from the auction will go to the centre which provides education, therapy and residency to hundreds of visually impaired toddlers and young adults across the country.

Ms McDermott said: “I was honoured for my work to be chosen for the exchange of gifts at Windsor Castle, but I am equally honoured that the first of the series will be auctioned to raise money for such a deserving organisation as ChildVision.”

The quarter-size statue will be auctioned off by Goffs at the Punchestown Festival on May 1 and is expected to raise anything up to €60,000.

Chief executive of ChildVision Brian Allen hopes the proceeds raised will go to purchasing two hoists for the pre-school on campus, enabling staff to safely lift and move children in and out of their wheelchairs.

Mr Allen said: “Everyone knows that the environment for fundraising has become more difficult, while at the same time organisations like ours have faced state funding cuts too. That’s why we are so grateful for this opportunity.”

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