COLIN the horse is heading for the London Marathon next month, in preparation for the Chichester Poppy Appeal.
The fibreglass horse will be carried the 26.2 miles by Karen Shrimpton, 56, Sharon Ellis, 42, Debbie Bell, 51, and Penny Patten, 52.
The locally-manufactured horse has raised nearly £40,000 for charity since 2006 and his four faithful carriers were out in the city centre on Saturday collecting for the Royal British Legion.
Mayor of Chichester John Hughes met them outside the assembly rooms in North Street.
“It looks extremely heavy, but they’re assuring me it’s light,” he said. “I do admire them running these 26 miles for the poppy appeal.
“When it goes out on national television for Chichester girls to be doing this is a nice act.”
Jago Developments, of Quarry Lane, Chichester, built the horse for free.
Colin is the third incarnation of the war horse, which ran its first race in 2006. Since then Colin and his runners have raised around £38,000 for charities, including St Wilfrid’s Hospice, but this year they were keen to fundraise to remember the fallen.
Karen described it as an ‘iconic year’, with 2014 marking 100 years since the outbreak of the first world war and 75 years since outbreak of the second world war.
Branch president for the Chichester Poppy Appeal Graham Matthews said: “Anything that raises money for the poppy appeal like this is absolutely great.
“Having completed the London Marathon on my own three times, I can appreciate the pain they will suffer towards the end of the seven hours they intend to do it in. The fact they’re doing it for the poppy appeal is wonderful.”
Penny’s husband Clive built the second version of Colin, with Jago building the first.
KT Fabrication, of Bognor Regis, Redfern Engineering, of Bognor, and Panther Van Hire, of Chichester, all offered services free to help.
To sponsor the group visit www.justgiving.com/colin-warhorse or text 70070 to WARH56.
Or contact Chichester president Graham Matthews on 01243 823997.