Children from a Milton Keynes charity had the opportunity to meet their role model Clare Balding OBE as she signed copies of her new book in the city.
Ride High, based in Great Brickhill, works with disadvantaged children by giving them the opportunity to ride horses, building their self-esteem and confidence and improving their future prospects.
Elizabeth Shinns and Harvey Whitley were thrilled to meet Clare when she visited thecentre:mk’s WHSmith on Monday and took the time to give them advice on their future careers with horses.
Founder Rachel Medill said: “Clare is such a role model.
“Not only was she a successful sportswoman in her own right, but has also become a huge television personality and has succeeded in an industry traditionally dominated by men.
“She spoke with the children not only about the possibility of becoming jockeys, but also about the other opportunities to work with horses in the racing industry.
“One of the key things we try to instill in the children who come to Ride High is a sense of possibility and ambition for their future and many discover a passion for working with horses while with us.
“She is an inspiration to them.”
Clare arrived to a queue of fans who wanted pictures with and their book signed by the sports presenter.
Clare said: “It was a challenge to get to Milton Keynes with the M1 being shut, but I was very relieved to make it.
“I have never been to the shopping centre before - it’s enormous!”
Walking Home tells of her and her brother Andrew’s determination to conquer the Wayfarer’s Walk, a 71-mile adventure which runs past her family’s stables Kingsclere.
It’s a story of paths and people, discovering glories of Britain and Ireland, and life changing rambles.
Clare’s first book, ‘My Animals and Other Family’, was a number one best seller winning autobiography of the year at the 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards.
“My ultimate result is that people read the book and their reaction at the end of it is they want to go for a walk.
“All the time we are looking for a key to happiness and we could be looking for things that are a bit too complicated or expensive.
“Walking is free and it’s something you can do with the people you love. You can have difficult conversations, you can have lovely conversations and share that experience and do a challenge together.
“My first book did amazingly well and I was so pleased because it effected people of all age groups. I hope this book will have a similar affect in terms of people feeling positive, uplifted, enthusiastic and wanting to go and explore the countryside.
“But also it’s very reflective - it takes me to the present day so I am writing about things that have happened to me in later life, rather than in childhood.”