Supporters are rallying round to help a rider and groom who suffered a life changing injury two and a half years ago and now needs help to move from a nursing home into a specially adapted bungalow.

Gemma Potts, from Crook, was knocked over by a horse at an equestrian event, leaving her quadriplegic aged 26.

After months in James Cook University Hospital’s spinal injuries unit, Gemma was moved to a nursing home in Bishop Auckland where she could receive care. Her mum Linda is now working to get her home, but the bungalow they have needs a lot of specialist equipment.

Richmond Equestrian Centre is supporting Gemma, along with equestrian performance coach Victoria Baker, from Stockton. They have organised an auction of promises online and at the centre, with former Tyne Tees presenter Paul Frost as the compere.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Gemma with Paul Frost, mum Linda, Abigail and Victoria

Gemma said: “I am overwhelmed by the response from the whole community, and there are not enough words to express how grateful I am for the support.”

The raffle and auction evening is being held at Richmond Equestrian Centre, near Tunstall, Richmond on Thursday, February 29, from 5pm. The bidding will start at approximately 7pm. Organisers have already received many prizes ranging from holiday stays, event days and visits, alongside horse and pony training and equipment.

Victoria said: “I just wanted to help Gemma, I hadn’t realised that she was still in a nursing home, as of January 28, it’s been two years, I really don’t know how they have coped. We’re really keen to make this a good night because we need to raise as much as we can for Gemma, there is a lot of equipment she needs to get her home and there is rehabilitation she can have to help her movement.

“As a mum I cannot even begin to comprehend what this family have gone through, having their beautiful daughter suffer life changing injuries, then have to struggle to get what they need just to have their daughter home with them. Everyone deserves to be in their own home, and we just want to help her get there.”

Abigail Turnbull, of Richmond Equestrian Centre, said she became involved after hearing about the heartbreaking situation and wanted to support Victoria’s campaign.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Gemma Potts was badly injured

“All monies raised will go towards buying Gemma the equipment she needs and will help towards funding the ongoing therapy which she will need once she leaves care,” said Abigail. “The evening is guaranteed to be fun and informal, with food and a complimentary welcome drink and the aim is to raise those much needed funds.”

Paul Frost said: “What has happened to Gemma and her family is so tragic, when I heard about it, I felt compelled to help in any way I could, even with my limited abilities as an auctioneer.

“I met her this week with her mother, what lovely people. I have three children of my own and the thought of having to deal with something like this just doesn’t bear thinking about, we need to give them all the help we can.”

Help is still needed for the evening as well as financial donations. Tickets are £10, contact Victoria through or Abigail / 07779 282665.

Some of the items Gemma needs to get home include a bath cradle, travel hoist, electrical muscle stimulation device, and a weighing scale to fit a hoist.

Organisers are hoping to provide an online auction page - see next week’s D&S Times for more details.

In the meantime, see the Facebook page Gemma needs our help for updates.