A VERY special handmade rocking horse is helping ten serving soldiers gallop past their fund-raising goals.

The soldiers, from the 73 Engin-eer Regiment in Nottingham, have cycled the equivalent distance from their base to Camp Bastion – a distance of 6,000km – on behalf of The Army Benevolent Fund, smashing their original target of £5,000.

In support of the cycle, which took place on static machines mainly in Tesco stores in the north, auctioneers from Chippen-ham Auction Rooms are waiving their commission to make sure every penny from the sale of the rocking horse goes to the cause.

Auctioneer Gordon Brockman, who is a friend of Major Steve Salt of the regiment, said: “These serving soldiers have done an amazing thing, and in doing so, have already raised around £20,000.

“They have decided to raise the money for the Army Benevolent Fund, a very worthwhile cause, and were donated the horse by an elderly gentleman who normally sells these types of item for £1,500 to £2,000. Major Salt asked if we could do anything to help them.”

He said the horse, valued at between £600 and £800, was a beautiful item.

“All of the leather work is in mint condition. It is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“Hopefully, the sale of the horse will take the fund a good bit over the £20,000 mark.”

The military theme continues throughout the sale, with a valuable medal collection also up for auction.

There are close to 100 medals in the collection with a combined price of more than £7,500, from as far afield as Japan, Australia, and South Africa, but it is the English and Wiltshire regiment medals that are generating the most interest.

Auctioneer Richard Edmonds said: “The medals are from a private collection, and money taken from their sale will not be going towards the Army Benevolent Fund – it is a separate lot.

“We also have the entire contents of one house in Devon going for auction this weekend. There are 200 lots, all from a private residence. The items have been collected by a family that have travelled for many generations, so there will be some exciting lots in that auction too.”

The auction will take place at 9.30am at the Chippenham Auction Rooms in Ivy Road.