Cheltenham Festival 2019: Charity is the big winner so far

Cheltenham Festival 2019: Charity is the big winner so far

Brought to you by Betfred boss Fred Done

Phew that’s the first day of Cheltenham over! And the early winner in the battle between bookie and punter is, wait for it… CHARITY.

I feel humbled to be able to donate all the profits from over-the-counter bets made yesterday at our 1,630 shops to help fund a vital piece of equipment for children facing life-threatening conditions.

At this early stage I’m not sure exactly how much will be heading to Manchester’s iMRI Scanner Appeal.

But what I am sure about is that  the first day of the world-famous Cheltenham Festival is one of the busiest days of the horse racing calendar, plus Manchester City hosted Schalke in the Champions League.

Hopefully even those amongst our thousands of customers who were losers on the day were winners because the Betfred profits on the day will be going to such a good cause.

What is absolutely certain is that the appeal will get at least £100,000 underwritten by me  but when the sums are done and we reveal the final figure by the end of the week it is odds on to be substantially more.

The appeal, which will fund state-of-the-art intra-operative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI) equipment, will be used to help children from Greater Manchester and across the UK being treated for debilitating and life-threatening conditions such as brain tumours, traumatic brain injuries, problems with the central nervous system and epilepsy.

Personal motivation: Fred lost his beloved wife Mo to a brain tumour last summer

The appeal particularly resonated with me  as I lost my his wife Mo last summer after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. My marriage was a sixty year love story… it was the best marriage in the world.

She was a strong northern woman with a great ability to talk to people whatever their backgrounds. She would have supported this appeal, there is absolutely no question about that.

It is humbling that I’m in a position to help buy this much needed equipment which is a worthy legacy to Mo’s memory.

From my own sad experience, I know how important it is to have world-class equipment available to help save the lives of your loved ones. I feel privileged that I can help… and I do hope the best scanner money can buy will end up saving the lives of seriously ill children brought to Manchester from all over the country.

The new iMRI scanner  will be based at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where it will transform brain surgery for some of the 270,000 children each year.

The iMRI will allow for surgeons to scan a child during the operation itself, while they are still in a safe, sterile environment.

Currently patients can wait days after a procedure until they are well enough for another scan, and this can be an agonising and stressful time for young patients and their families. The iMRI will mean better outcomes for children with more accurate surgeries, fewer surgeries and reduced risk of infections.

The iMRI Scanner Appeal was launched by Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity last June. Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity is part of the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) Charity.  Registered charity number 1049274.

For more information about the appeal, or to make a donation, visit