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Polo, Churchill, and Charity Come to Santa Rosa, California

Sir Winston Churchill would have enjoyed the scene at the Wine Country Polo Club in Santa Rosa, where polo teams played a charity match Saturday.

By STEVE HART

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, 8 October 2011—”My grandfather would have loved to be here, watching a sport he loved so much,” said Celia Sandys, granddaughter of the British wartime leader and statesman.

Sandys, a Churchill historian and author, presented the trophy at the Winston S. Churchill and James S. Brady Courage Cup held at the club’s Trione Field in Oakmont.

The event benefits a Bay Area horseback therapy program for children with autism, cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders.

This year, it partnered with The Churchill Centre, a London-based nonprofit dedicated to the statesman’s work. Churchill was an avid polo player, winning the All—India Cup with his regimental team in the late 1890s.

Churchill played with one arm strapped to his side because he’d injured his shoulder getting off a ship, Sandys said.

He continued playing until he was in his 50s.

The charity match has been held for the past 26 years at the polo fields in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It moved north this year when they weren’t available, said Melba Meakin of Horses in California, the nonprofit that sponsors the match.

Santa Rosa philanthropist Henry Trione offered the Oakmont polo fields for free, she said.
“The horses like this field and the riders do too,” Meakin said.

The event also pays tribute to James Brady, the former press secretary for President Ronald Reagan who was seriously wounded and permanently disabled in an assassination attempt on the president in 1981.

Brady is a supporter of equine therapy and agreed to lend his name to the match.

The Java Beach team from Menlo Polo Club won Saturday’s match 7-4 over a team with players from the Santa Rosa and Sutter Buttes polo clubs.

©Press Democrat

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