Dairy farmer Paul Richards from Hayle has become the first Cornishman to complete the Mongol Derby, the longest and toughest horse race in the world. In doing so, he raised more than £22,000 for Children’s Hospice South West.

Mr Richards rode wild horses across 1,000km of Mongolian steppe which took him nine days. He was one of the 30 people to complete the challenge without assistance out of the 42 people that took part from eight different countries.

Mr Richards rode an average of 70 miles a day and the majority of the ride was with with six other riders so the group was nicknamed the Magnificent Seven. He was the proud winner of a prize for receiving no veterinary penalties throughout the ride.

Reflecting on the challenge Paul said: “It was an absolute experience of a lifetime and I feel so proud to have completed it. The ride was tougher than I expected and it wasn’t until I got out there that it dawned on me that I may not finish it but I am so glad that I did and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

Mercian Potatoes and Cornish Mutual sponsored Mr Richards by contributing to the costs of the trip itself and people and businesses from the local community donated to make the final fundraising total for Children’s Hospice South West £22,321.62.

Mr Richards held a hog roast at his farm before he went on the trip which gained great support with various items being donated for the event from local businesses. Tom McFadden Butchers from St Just were instrumental in the success of the event and Lloyds Bank offered some matched funding making his total from the hog roast more than £6,000.

Alice Merrett, community fundraiser for CHSW said: “We are so proud of Paul, what an absolutely amazing achievement to complete the Mongol Derby as well as more than doubling the amount that he set out to raise for CHSW. We are currently supporting 107 life limited children and their families at Little Harbour so this donation will go towards continuing the support we offer to those children and families who come to Little Harbour for short stays, respite, palliative care, end of life care and bereavement support.”