Racegoers had fun and helped out on a special day aimed at raising funds for Carlisle’s most deprived children.

The first meeting of the jumps season at Carlisle Racecourse doubled up as a day of fundraising for The Rock Youth Project.

Hundreds of people gathered for a reception organised by the financial advice company Rachael Bell Wealth Management.

Practice principal Rachael Bell said: “The Rock is our charity of the year and the raceday was a way of generating much-needed funds for them, while catching up with our clients, friends and associates in a fun and informal setting.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our guests for their generosity and to the racecourse team for making the day such a special one.”

Alun Jones, who founded The Rock in 2010, explained the charity’s mission.

He said: “We give these young people a chance.

“We give them a place to go; a place where they can feel safe.

“The areas in which we operate have some of the highest levels of crime and deprivation in Cumbria.

“Families choose between heating or eating.

“Sometimes they have no choice at all and go without both.

“One of the things we do to help is to put money on their meter cards, but The Rock is about so much more.

“We need support.

“We need help, so that we can help more people.

“Our base is crumbling.

“The buildings we use are vermin-infested and we have a dream of creating a new, modern and safe space for these young people.

“We can only do that with the help of businesses, our wider community and the generosity of others.”

The day raised £7,358, which will go directly to The Rock.

Molly Dingwall, general manager of Carlisle Racecourse, said: “It was such a pleasure to see everyone having fun and enjoying themselves while raising money for a fantastic cause in The Rock Youth Project.

“The jumps season at Carlisle is always special and it was a wonderful start with Brian Hughes getting a double on the day and increasing his lead in the Jockeys Championship.

“Here’s to an exciting season.”