When Evie Wallage pinned her hopes to the Wish Tree at her care home, she never dreamed it would lead her to the Winners’ Enclosure at Lingfield Park.
The 87-year-old not only fulfilled her wish to spend a day at the races, but was proud to take centre stage at the Surrey racecourse, by presenting the prize to the winning owner of the Evie Wallage Wish Tree Maiden Auction Stakes.
Evie, who lives at Bowes House Care UK home in East Sussex, was thrilled to see her name in lights when she visited Lingfield Park.
‘I had absolutely no idea there was a race named after me today until I arrived – what a lovely surprise!’ said Evie, who was accompanied on her day out by Care UK receptionist Frances Gaunt – a former member of the Lingfield Park raceday sales team.
Frances, who retired from the racecourse in 2017 after a career spanning 30 years, said she was delighted to help Evie’s wish come true.
‘It was wonderful to be able to pick up the phone to Lingfield Park and my old colleagues and organise this for Evie today,’ she added. ‘I now work one day a week at the home and love to see the wishes come true for the residents.
‘It was also a treat to return to Lingfield Park and see so many familiar faces – both staff and customers.’
Deborah Hay, Partnerships Manager at Lingfield Park Resort said staff were thrilled to welcome the visitors for the day.
‘Frances is missed greatly as she was a living legend here so it was lovely to see her back again – and particularly with our special guest-of-honour, Evie.
‘We are always happy to help people and organisations in our community and it was great to see Evie enjoying live racing again as she hasn’t had the opportunity to come for a few years. We hope they both had a great time.’
Photographer - John Hoy