KIND, infectious, inclusive, loved by all, fun, always smiling, singing and dancing. They are some of the words used to remember the late Tiggy Hancock who sadly passed away following a tragic riding accident on June 16th last, at the age of 15.
Despite her young age, Tiggy had the capacity to reach out and offer positivity to those around her. Inclusivity was a huge part of her character – she welcomed everyone, both young and old, and for that she is so fondly remembered.
The creation of Tiggy’s Trust, which officially launches on December 10th, will honour her legacy and aim to help other young people by spreading the kindness, generosity and inclusivity that was an integral part of her personality.
For Tiggy’s parents, Jane and Frank, and her older sisters Eliza and Lucy, the kindness and support from those who were touched by Tiggy’s life has been a comfort in difficult times.
“She was so incredibly kind. She just was. And it is so nice that people seem to have taken that on board because that is what she was – happy and smiling,” said her loving mother Jane. “That was just the way she was, let’s hope that is a lasting legacy.
“I have had so many message from kids that start off ‘you won’t know me but’, and they will say how Tiggy walked a course with them, or Tiggy always smiled at them and said hello, or they will say they were nervous and Tiggy helped them. I find that so touching. From the kids’ perspective, they have taken on board being kind, which is really nice.
“She was a little bit infectious, her smile… she was just a little thing that bounced around, like Eliza said (at the funeral), ‘she was my whacky little sister’, that’s what she was.”
Tiggy Hancock with Coppenagh Spring Sparrow \ Tiggy's Trust
Tiggy’s Trust was set up in the aftermath of her death. Jane explains: “We never intended it to be what it is. In the early days, we were getting so many flowers, Eliza and Lucy said let’s just say to people to donate to a Trust. There was no big aim.
“Then the yellow ribbons took off and then people stated donating. It really was no more than ‘we will think of a charity to give it to’, and now it has developed into its own thing.”
The three arms of the Trust are mental health, education and training. “The idea is to get training to the level that don’t automatically get it – the grassroots, the passionate kids that are working away, to help them would be wonderful. To give kids opportunities that they haven’t got. Tiggy was lucky, she got onto the elite squad, but if kids can feel they can get training and get a chance.”
Yellow ribbons were worn in her memory at every country show around the country and as far away at Tokyo, where Irish Olympic athletes received special permission to wear the ribbon. Tiggy’s name was mentioned on the live stream when an Irish rider entered the arena, she was remembered so fondly by all.
“That was so special, they were so kind,” Jane said, remembering the Olympic Games. “The Tokyo athletes made a really special effort; her accident was so close to Tokyo. Heike [Holstein] went first and she asked for us to send a badge because she said she wasn’t allowed to wear a ribbon. My daughter designed a badge, which then became a logo. But then they got permission to wear a yellow ribbon which was phenomenal.
“Ingrid Klimke wears a yellow ribbon now, it has just spread. Marcus Ehning was her show jumping hero and he wore the yellow ribbon just days after. That was so kind, it’s amazing what people do.”
A Song for Tiggy
A special recording of ‘A Song for Tiggy’ will soon be available on YouTube for people to see after a group of young people, Tiggy’s friends, gathered to sing her favourite song ‘Dance Monkey’ with the Newbridge Gospel Choir recently.
“Tiggy loved singing. She was always singing and dancing around, and she loved that song. We sent out a WhatsApp to people and asked them if they wanted to come. There must have been 200 young people there, all singing Dance Monkey. They came and did it for Tiggy.”
Before the big fundraising day at Cheltenham on December 10th, Tiggy’s Trust will donate the first tranche of funds, €12,000, to a number of mental health organisations.
“It is going to be given by her friends who are selecting the organisations with the help of adults. I felt that was important for the teenagers, they really really want to do something.
“We are getting children who were touched by other loss to give the first tranche of money under a theme of young lives lost. We have included people who have maybe lost a friend, to honour those other young lives. Tragically it is not just Tiggy, she has captured people’s imaginations, but there are lots of very sad stories.”
Jane emphases that people have been so kind in donating to the Trust, and they are keen to give back before the first official fundraiser next month.
The Trust is a beautiful memory of the beautiful Tiggy, and her family hope it will empower her friends and young people.
“The Trust is to be all about young people; to hopefully empower them and give them guidelines for the future, to let them know where they can go for help or support.”
Tiggy’s kindness lives on.