Horse Racing or Walking – Still a star to Colne

The Grand National was held at Aintree on Sat 6th April 2019.  Ladies Day was the day before (5th April) and was attended by one of our (very well known) local ladies, Julie Sala.  For us this lady ranks very high on our list of priorities. Do you know why? 

Ladies Day at Aintree

The original plan was simply to write a brief a story on our Colne Ladies attending Ladies Day at Aintree and publish it to coincide with the Grand National.  

But what’s with the racing cover photo? We’ll explain  …

Horse Racing in Sicily

But then we found  that that Julie used to race horses in Sicily! Here we see her racing a horse in the streets of Floridia, Sicily at their annual horse race. Julie tells us that she ‘won many events’ and ‘was the first woman’ to compete in that race. Well, how about that? Impressive.


Walk to D’Feet MND Charity Event

We first met Julie at a charity event called “Walk to D’Feet MND”.  This entailed walking approx. 27 miles from Royal  Preston Hospital to Colne Health Centre. Julie was one of the key people behind the creation of event and, at the time, she was part of the Colne & District Nursing Team.  Essentially, this mean’t that a significant portion of that nursing team, some of their patients and friends  & family were involved too.

This event has been running since 2014, although we seem to have photo’s from 2015.  Each year it has been growing steadily in numbers and continues to raise many thousands of pounds on a yearly basis.  They raised £5,000 in 2015, over £7,350 in 2016, over £9,600 in 2017 and over £8,700 in 2018.

The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and to raise funds for the associated charities.  If you’re wondering how this came about, it’s because Julie’s husband suffered from the disease and the journey took them through the various stages of the disease until he finally succumbed to it. It’s a painful story. Julie and the rest of her lovely family are very strong characters but, on occasion, the emotions spill out.  We’ve seen her emotions during the filming of a promotional interview to help raise awareness of MND at That’s Lancashire TV and on a couple of other occasions when being interviewed. Everyone present is right with her. Julie also works on the MND telephone help lines. Just how she finds time for all this is anyone’s guess. She certainly channels her passion into positive action. 

The 2018 MND campaign was backed by  local football legend Lenny Johnrose on 2BR Radio.  We had a long chat with him in the 2BR offices – he’s a top bloke. Lenny was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2017, but nevertheless he also took time to personally hand out certificates to all the walkers at the end of the walk.  

That year, the Preston to Burnley: 22 Mile Walk in Aid of Motor Neurone Disease event expanded beyond Colne (also included NHS staff from the Royal Preston Teaching Hospital, Royal Blackburn Hospital and other hospitals etc.) and was also re-routed to terminate in Burnley.  None of the walkers would argue with that, as it knocked a few miles of the total route!

Back in 2015, we literally just turned up and barged in.  Completely unannounced and, after explaining ourselves, were quickly integrated into their network. If I remember rightly, this initial introduction was in Samlesbury, near near the BAE premises.  We’ve followed them year on year and helped the Colne & District Nurses with other events whenever they have asked.  Sometimes, this was a struggle for us. In 2016, our scuba diving BSAC Practical Instructor Exam fell on the same day of the walk. Disaster! But we finished up by lunchtime and managed to track the nurses down to a pub (there’s a surprise!) and capture the rest of the event!

Over the years, the MND charity walks have been supported by local business. LLoyd BMW Colne have been awesome. They have consistently supplied a support vehicle plus driver and food & drinks for all the walkers.  Superb community engagement by Lloyd BMW.

Around May 2018, Julie was offered her dream job … (next page) …

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About Naz Alam 293 Articles
Naz is well known in the local community as a photo journalist. He is group creator for 'Colne Talk' - a Facebook Community Group which has approx 20K members. He also runs multiple Facebook pages for the local community & local business, such as 'Visit Colne'.