It is almost exactly 50 years ago that Paddy Farrell’s life changed forever.
Riding Border Flight in the 1964 Grand National, Farrell was unseated at The Chair. He broke his back. The injury left him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He had four young children and no means to support them.
Farrell’s plight spurred the setting up of a fund to give financial assistance to riders whose careers had been cut short by injury.
A small group of leading jump racing people, who included the great jockey Fred Winter and the Telegraph journalist and amateur rider John Lawrence, who was later to become Lord Oaksey, set up a fund to help Farrell and former champion Tim Brookshaw, who, four months earlier, had broken his back at Aintree.
Farrell died in November 1999, aged 69, but the Injured Jockeys Fund lives on, and in 2014 is celebrating its half-century with a programme of events.
Lisa Hancock, the chief executive of the IJF says: “To celebrate 50 years we wanted to do something that both raises awareness of the Injured Jockeys Fund and which people can join in with across the country. The support we have received from the racing community and beyond has been simply overwhelming and we look forward to a year of celebration and activity that will provide further help to injured jockeys and their families.”
The programme of events include:
- Injured Jockeys Fund race days on all UK racecourses.
- Official celebrations at the Aintree Grand National meeting in April, attended by the IJF patron, HRH The Princess Royal.
- Official dinner and golf day at Pennyhill Park Hotel and the Royal Berkshire golf course in June.
- IJF as the official charity of Barbury Castle Horse Trials in July.
- IJF as the official charity of Olympia in December.
- Opening of Jack Berry House, the IJF’s second respite and rehabilitation centre, in the autumn.
- IJF as the beneficiary of the Cheltenham Festival Charity Race in 2015.
A commemorative book The Injured Jockeys Fund: Celebrating Fifty Years 1964-2014 by Sean Magee (reviewed here) is among the various pieces of merchandise that will also be celebrating and fund-raising for the IJF this year.
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UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
Mon Mar 24: SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, Grand Connaught Rooms, London
Mon Apr 14: SJA Spring Golf Day: Croham Hurst GC, Surrey. Booking details to be announced