Romford ‘human calendar’, 11, raises money for Chigwell riding school

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 June 2020

Jacob Jackson, 11, with horse Madge at the Chigwell Riding Trust. Picture: Lizi Jackson-Barrett

Jacob Jackson, 11, with horse Madge at the Chigwell Riding Trust. Picture: Lizi Jackson-Barrett

Lizi Jackson-Barrett

A Romford boy displayed his amazing memory skills while raising almost £1,200 towards a Chigwell riding school for people with special needs.

Jacob Jackson, 11, decided to come up with the idea of a ‘Date-a-Thon’ to generate cash for Chigwell Riding Trust (CRT).

Jacob, who is autistic, has taken lessons at the school since last September but it has closed “for the foreseeable future” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “It is just really fun riding there. The teachers and volunteers are really nice and it’s a really nice and fun place to go to.”

The riding centre claims to be the first of its kind for people with special needs and has been running for more than 50 years.

It normally provides lessons for people of all ages and abilities and has around 160 riders a week, according to its website.

Jacob’s mum Lizi Jackson-Barrett told the Recorder her son wanted to offer his support to the charity.

She said: “His weekly lessons have given him so much. Jacob has developed unrecognisably in his confidence and independence, and his lessons have given him a sense of purpose and belonging.

“The kindness and patience of the staff there, many of whom are volunteers, is second to none.

“Since the world went into lockdown Jacob has missed horseriding more than anything else and has been very down at times, wishing for the day he can get back into the saddle.”

Lizi described Jacob as a “human calendar” and revealed he can remember what day of the week any date fell on or what day future dates will be.

With his mum’s help, Jacob set up a JustGiving page and asked people to donate at least £2 to the riding trust and submit a date for him.

On Saturday (May 23), they streamed a live Facebook video in which Lizi read out the dates people had sent in, which Jacob had not seen, and he replied with the day of the week each of those dates fell on or will fall on.

The video has been seen more than 4,000 times and Lizi said Jacob is “delighted” with the amount he has raised.

The riding school’s manager Deborah Hall added: “Jacob has a wonderful gift. He had such a novel way of raising funds for the trust while we are closed. CRT is extremely grateful to Jacob and his sponsors.”

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