Pippa Middleton is competing in a 90-kilometer cross-country ski race in March to raise money for a U.K. charity that gives hungry kids breakfast before school. So who’s signing up to donate? Meet the millionaire hedge-fund manager, the racehorse owner, the socialites, the designers, the entrepreneurs, and the ex-boyfriend who are only too happy to help.
Pippa, 27, sister of Kate and owner of the world’s most famous butt, is under no illusions that competing in the annual Swedish Vasaloppet ski race is going to be tough. As she writes on her fundraising page at justgiving.com, “Vasaloppet is an annual long-distance (90km) cross-country ski race held on the first Sunday of March in Sweden between the village of Salen and Mora. It is one of the oldest, one of the longest and considered the biggest cross-country ski race in the world.” Just as well, perhaps, that she has recently been off getting some practice, skiing with her new beau, George Percy, Prince of the North, the United Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor and heir to one of the richest estates in the British Isles.
Pippa writes on the “my story” section of her personalized page that she is taking part in the race with her brother, James, a baking entrepreneur who sells Cake Kits. Together they will raise money for the charity Magic Breakfast, “a small registered charity that fights child hunger through breakfast clubs and delivering free breakfasts.” Just £42, she writes, “provides a child with a nutritious breakfast each school morning for a whole year.”
Alongside Pippa’s statement, and next to cheery messages of support (“Go Pippa Pig!”) that jovially upbraid “the other Middleton gal” for her craziness (“you must be nuts!”) at undertaking this challenge, appear the names of the sponsors and the value of their bequests. They have so far pledged just short of £5,000 in total to support her fundraising effort.
The names of the donors represent a fascinating who’s who of the carefully guarded inner circle of the Middletons.
Mark Cecil, £100
No surprise to find the millionaire investment banker and hedge-fund operator Mark Cecil near the top of the list. Cecil, a founding partner of the $5 billion Switzerland-based Jabre Capital Management fund, is a close friend of the Middletons and owner of the luxurious Mustique villa Aurora, where the family recently spent a winter vacation with Prince William.
Olivia Hunt, £30
“Good luck and embrace the burn,” writes Hunt, a former girlfriend of Prince William.
Anthony Gordon Lennox, £50
The communications consultant, 42, a former BBC Question Time producer, is an Old Etonian and the nephew of the Duke of Richmond. He has spent the last decade coaching business and political leaders in Britain and around the world how to communicate more effectively. He taught Kate breathing techniques before her wedding to enable her to say “I do” in a calm, clear, and confident manner, and he’s likely to be the media trainer of choice when Pippa finally faces the cameras.
Kishore Patel, £50
Patel is married to baker Fiona Cairns and is managing director of her company, Fiona Cairns Ltd., which created William and Kate’s wedding cake. Clearly unaware of Elmore Leonard’s rule that exclamation points should be limited to one or two per 100,000 words, Patel writes, “I’m breathless just thinking about it!!! Good Luck!! Hope its all down hill!!!”
Alexandra Sandbach, £25
Blonde socialite and girl about town Sandbach is a friend of Pippa’s from her university days. She and Pippa were last spotted out together at the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polo Charity Cup at Ham Polo Club in Richmond in June 2009.
Marcus Waley-Cohen (donation not specified)
Rich Old Etonian Waley-Cohen, 34, who knows Pippa from Edinburgh University, shares her love of skiing—except he likes to ski the glaciers of the Matterhorn. He has an adventurous streak, having once spent a month walking across northern India, and his father breeds horses and has a medical business. He runs the posh soft-drink brand Firefly. He writes, “Masses of luck. Rather you than me!”
Tim Billington, £20
The landowner and racehorse breeder and his artist wife, Gemma, are close friends of the Middleton family.
JoJo Browner, £25
Browner is a pivotal figure in Pippa’s life. Formerly her employer at the party organizer Table Talk, she is thought to be the inspiration for Pippa’s ambition to turn her parents’ website, Party Pieces, into a full-service events company. JoJo writes, “You must be mad..!!! Good luck, what a fantastic charity to be doing this for.”
Tom Bradby, £50
The political editor of ITV News, 45, is the royal family’s most trusted journalist in the U.K. In 2005 he left a voicemail offering to loan some editing equipment to Prince William, and when the information subsequently appeared in News of the World, Bradby’s suspicions helped uncover the phone-hacking scandal.
Georgie Weedon, £20
The flame-haired film producer, a graduate of Goldsmith’s art college in London, specializes in making documentaries about the Middle East. In 2002 she and three other artists traveled 20,000 miles in a mobile studio to Baghdad and Jerusalem via Istanbul, Tehran, Dubai, Musqat, Sana, Jidda, Amman, Cairo, Damascus, and Beirut.
Ben Fitzherbert, £40
Fitzherbert is an Edinburgh University friend whose wedding to Georgina Hewlett was Pippa’s first public outing after she split from cricketer Alex Loudon.
Katie Readman, £30
The Issa designer writes, “Go Pips, So proud of you, such an amazing cause, wishing you all the luck in the mountain world xxxxx”
J.J. Jardine Paterson, £25
Pippa’s ex, heir to the Jardine banking fortune, writes, “Good luck P...What an awesome adventure! Am sure you’ll finish near the 9hr mark...Have fun, J x”
Sixty years and hardly a slip.