Annika Dean
Annika Dean Troy Jegers

Lightning strikes for 11-year-old Gympie altruist

THERE are many things 11-year-olds are concerned about but most aren't raising money for charity.

Not so Annika Dean.

As a young volunteer of the local group Hope Reins she has decided to hold a mother-daughter ball and raise much needed funds for the group.

"I love spending time with my mum and thought a ball was a good idea” Annika says.

Races - Michael, Annika and Kylie Dean
Michael, Annika and Kylie Dean LEEROY TODD

"It is a Winter Wonderland theme. I want to raise money so the horses at Hope Reins can be helped.”

Hope Reins is completely donor funded charity in the Gympie region where the rescued horses are helping people.

Annika has a particular fondness for Lightning, who was found abandoned and chained to a fence in a property in NSW.

With no food, water or shelter he also had an infection in his eyes that has left him blind. Rescued by a lady there and then by another group on the Gold Coast the reality of his blindness and the pain he was in caused the group to believe that he needed to be put down.

Gympie prayer breakfast - Callum Dean, Annika Dean, Olivia Perry
Callum Dean, Annika Dean, Olivia Perry Troy Jegers

"We have a number of horses here with just one eye and we believed we could give Lightning the care he needed” says co-founder Kylie Read.

"Lightning came and our vets cleared his tear ducts which were blocked. It was like he had a massive sinus headache. Since then he hasn't looked back. One eye is completely blind and the other has perhaps 5% vision. He is a small horse, but we believe he is mightily going to change lives.”

Hope Reins rescues horses and then run programs for people to access, free of charge.

Women in Business entrant Ruth Polley from Hope Reins.
Ruth Polley from Hope Reins. Renee Albrecht

"We help to build courage and resilience and heal hurts in people and horses” Read explains.

The Winter Wonderland ball is being held at the Pavilion on Saturday, June 29.

Mothers and daughters of all ages are welcome with some multi-generational combos already purchasing their tickets.

Kylie Read and Ruth Polley from Hope Reins with Shane Gill president of GYmpie turf club in Gympie.
Kylie Read and Ruth Polley from Hope Reins with Shane Gill president of Gympie Turf Club in Gympie. MPS75

Of course, if you don't have a mum or daughter you are still welcome to attend.

Check out the Facebook page Hope Reins Fundraiser Winter Wonderland Ball for details on tickets and for items for auction between now and the Ball.