A YOUNG woman with a love of horses from Ingleton has challenged herself to complete Sunday’s (November 24) Great Skipton Fun Run in her manual wheelchair.

Esta Watson, 23, who has been using a wheelchair since she was 16 years old, says she wants to raise money for a charity that has turned out to be a lifeline for her - the Horse and Pony Protection Association (HAPPA) at Shores Heys Farm, Burnley.

“I’m raising money for HAPPA which I found through my support team, I love the place it’s almost like free therapy for me. I have a love for animals so being able to get up close to stroke them and meet them I find really awesome and special,” she said.

Esta, who has autism and becomes easily overwhelmed in some situations, says she finds being around the horses and ponies and staff calming.

“I have been ill for more than five years and became a wheelchair user part way through, later moving onto a powered wheelchair; however, I’m gong to be completely crazy and try and do the Santa fun run in my manual chair, which I haven’s used for over two years. But, for HAPPA , I am willing to rise up to this very physical challenge I have set myself,” she said.

Sunday - the same day as the turning on of the town’s festive lights - will see the 10th annual Great Skipton Santa Fun Run, which will set off at 11am from Skipton High Street and will feature a hoped for 2,000 competitors, all dressed in Santa suits and all raising money for charity.

The 5km route has been revised, following feedback from last year’s event and will feature a staggered start, to avoid a bottleneck of santas.

There will also be for the first time a shorter route for disabled people wanting to take part, including Esta.

Organisers, the Rotary Club of Skipton Craven hope this year’s event will see more than last year’s record entry of 1,800 taking to the streets, and together hitting this year’s fundraising target of £40,000.

Runners and their supporters will be helped along by three live bands and there will also be ‘purple for polio’ cake to buy, to raise money for Rotary International’s campaign to eradicate polio worldwide.

Free parking will be on offer at Skipton Building Society, The Bailey.

To support Esta in her fundraising, go to: facebook.com/donate/2506094909635414; To enter the fun run, go to: skiptonsantafunrun.com

Some town centre roads, including the High Street,  will be closed to traffic on Sunday due to the fun run and to the turning on of the Christmas lights, between 5am and 9.30pm. There will be no parking on the High Street setts overnight on Saturday.