Dorset

Earl of Shaftesbury's estate to open for first time

St Giles House Estate, Wimborne St Giles, Dorset
Image caption The 10km and half marathon courses will start and finish at St Giles House

The Earl of Shaftesbury's St Giles House Estate in Dorset is to open to the public for the first time.

The estate at Wimborne St Giles will open for the 1st Great Shaftesbury Run on 12 June.

The run will raise funds for three charities including Wings for Life, a spinal cord research foundation.

The earl, Nick Ashley-Cooper, has been involved with the charity since breaking his back in a horse-riding accident in 2009.

The charity run has two courses - a 10km and a half marathon.

Lord Ashley-Cooper, whose father Earl Anthony Ashley-Cooper was murdered in 2004, has recovered since receiving the injuries in the riding accident.

'Fantastic charities'

The Great Shaftesbury Run will also support The Philip Green Memorial School in Cranborne and the Victoria Education Centre and Sports College in Poole. Lord Ashley-Cooper is the patron of both schools.

Image caption Lord Ashley-Cooper hopes the event will run annually

The 10km and half marathon courses will start and finish at St Giles House and follow trails through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Lord Ashley-Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, said he was keen to ensure the event was also enjoyed by non-runners.

He said: "We are opening up the grounds of St Giles House so that family and friends who are not taking part are able to relax, have a picnic and enjoy the day.

"Ultimately, the aim of the event is to bring people to together and raise some much needed funds for three fantastic charities."

Lord Ashley-Cooper hopes the event will run annually.

Entries for this year's Great Shaftesbury Run close on Sunday.

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