Riders in pink to show support for missing April

Horse riders at the Trot 'n' Pop Gymkhana show their support for missing April Jones
Horse riders at the Trot 'n' Pop Gymkhana show their support for missing April Jones

AN equestrian event was awash with a sea of pink when young riders showed their support for a youngster who vanished on October 1.

Youngsters who attend the weekly Trot ’n’ Pop Gymkhanas at Dalton Piercy Indoor Arena, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, united to show that they are thinking of Welsh youngster April Jones, who has not been seen since disappearing from a street near her home in Machynlleth.

The Welsh community has been left stunned with people scouring their town and surrounding hills searching for the five-year-old, who has cerebral palsy.

Around 450 horse enthusiasts from all over the North-East, from Newcastle to Northallerton, as well as from Hartlepool and East Durham, wore pink and descended on the arena, which was decorated with 200 pink balloons and 300 lanterns adorned with messages to April.

There were even 300 stickers showing messages of support placed on the horses.

The pink ribbon has been a national symbol linked to a campaign declaring that April’s community will not give up hope of finding her.

The gymkhanas, run by Julie Richard, are attended by people aged two to 75 and are held every Wednesday and Saturday.

Vikki Wood, of D&V Wood Team Equestrian, based in Hesleden, helped to organise the event.

She said: “This was to show April’s community that the people of the North-East are thinking of them and that we care.

“The kids who attend were asking questions about April so we thought it would be a nice idea to put on a remembrance day.

“I have had children around me all my life and I listen to them say ‘mammy, why hasn’t that little girl been found’ and my heart just bleeds.

“The event was absolutely fantastic – the turnout was unbelievable.”

Vikki said those who attended wanted to donate money but she said “that wasn’t the case”.

Mark Bridger, 46, has been charged with murder and child abduction in connection with April’s disappearance earlier this month.