It is 60 years since a serious injury to Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National helped spawn what is now the Injured Jockeys Fund.

At the time there was no system in place, financial or otherwise, to compensate jockeys whenever they were injured and Jack Berry, at the time a jump jockey himself who would go on to be a successful Flat trainer, was one of the riders to literally go round with collection buckets.

Farrell’s fall from Border Flight, while awful for all concerned, did at least provide a catalyst for change. Tim Brookshaw was another jockey to suffer serious injury at around the same time and the Farrell/Brookshaw Fund was set up originally to facilitate their recuperation before the pair asked that all jockeys should benefit.

John (Lord) Oaksey took on a prominent role, as did Berry.

“I do appreciate how good the facilities are now but it all started way back in 1964,” said Berry.

“Poor Paddy Farrell fell and broke his back in the Grand National. I was one of the jump jockeys who went round with buckets to collect money for him and if you like that was the start of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

“In those days there was nowhere for people to look to and he had a wife and four young kids at the time – they were seven, five, three and five months old. It was a bad situation.

“I had a bad fall at Wetherby when I broke my knee in five places and despite me conning my local doctor after three months to say I was fit, the Jockey Club doctor said there was no way I could ride, it only bent about 60 per cent.

“He asked me to go to Camden Town centre in London to rehabilitate. When I went there, along with me there were five dockers and a policeman but obviously they were just trying to drag it out as long as possible, I was the only one there who wanted to get better.

“I thought when I packed up riding and became a trustee of the Injured Jockeys Fund that we could do with a facility like Camden Town. It took me three years to get it past the trustees that we needed Oaksey House (in Lambourn) but when we got it past the trustees, I always thought we needed one in the north.”

The one in the north is known as Jack Berry House and while the man famous for wearing red shirts is a little embarrassed the facility carries his name given it was down to the work of so many, he admits to feeling a sense of pride at the outcome.

“Once I suggested it, I was told it was only six years since we opened Oaksey House but I said ‘don’t worry, we’ll raise the funds’ and with the help of the IJF, we held things like bungee jumps, sponsored swims and walks, all sorts to get the money,” he said.

“I did say to the trustees that we shouldn’t call it Jack Berry House we should call it Our House, but it is something I am very proud of and I’m absolutely delighted with it.

“It’s not just for injured jockeys, it’s a community hub if you like. Someone like Brian Hughes might ride out in Malton, go and use the gym there and then head off for six rides at Wetherby or somewhere.

“The wives of ex-jockeys still go and do Pilates there and have a cup of tea and a bit of a chat.”

Hopefully in the future Graham Lee may be a regular visitor to Jack Berry House.

It was 20 years ago that Lee won the Grand National on Amberleigh House before he switched his attentions to the Flat, going on to register a unique double by steering Trip To Paris to triumph in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Sadly, Lee suffered a fall at Newcastle in November which left him with life-changing injuries.

“You wouldn’t believe how many jockeys get injured. When you go down there, there are jockeys with broken collarbones and all sorts, it is a very dangerous profession,” said Berry.

“Look at Graham Lee, the poor lad is seriously injured. With Graham hopefully there might be scope for some more movement returning. He can move his shoulders and his neck.

“Graham is going to visit a rugby player who broke his neck, he has a rehabilitation place near Leicester and he’ll go there for a couple of weeks and then he’ll go home after the alterations have been made to make it wheelchair friendly. No doubt he will go to Jack Berry House to have physio eventually.”

On the 20th anniversary of Graham Lee winning the Grand National on Amberleigh House, a new racing club was launched to help raise money for the jockey after he suffered life-changing injuries in a fall at Newcastle in November.

The 48-year-old had a long and distinguished career in the saddle – under both codes. As well as winning the Grand National, he completed the unique double of riding the Gold Cup winner at Royal Ascot, via Trip To Paris.

The Graham Lee Racing Club has been set up by the Good Racing Company, founded by Phil Hawthorne, who established a similar venture for former rugby league player Rob Burrow.

They have purchased a two-year-old filly called We’ve Got This, in reference to a message Lee’s wife Becky posted on social media after the accident.

Lee’s daughter Amy and son Robbie have been at the forefront of the fundraising, with the latter designing the club’s logo, featured around Lee’s favourite number 17, also the number Amberleigh House wore at Aintree and the cost, £17, to join the venture, while Amy set up the initial Just Giving page.

She said: “It’s so nice that something so positive comes out of something so awful. I love meeting people who know dad, everyone has their really cool stories and everyone has been wanting to help so much. It’s nice to create something positive.

“When we set up a Just Giving page for dad, the target was £100, last week it hit £200,000 – which is crazy. I never expected that.

“I’ve always said to dad every time he has a negative thought, there’s a donation to show him he needs to keep going, there are so many people behind him.

“When he’s had his down days, we’ve sat there and we’ve read all the lovely messages and it always puts a smile on our faces.

“We’ve had so much support and the McCoys have been like a second family to us – the night it happened AP picked me up, as I live near him, and he brought me up home.”

She went on: “Dad is just dad to me. I never really clicked how incredible he was. I’ve always thought the world of him but another jockey said to me ‘he’s like God, he’s who everyone wants to be like’. It’s so nice to hear something like that.

“I wish that I could be half the person. I’m a performer, I’m studying musical theatre, and to have that competitive mindset to be a winner, to be a champion, is admirable.

“While he was a jockey, it was onto the next thing. When he won the National, he was just thinking ‘I need to go to Hexham tomorrow’, he never got to celebrate it really, but since his accident, he’s really reflected and we’ve pulled out the old photos and old videos.

“When his friends and fellow jockeys come and see him, they reflect on races from years ago and his memory is insanely sharp. I think it’s starting to click that ‘actually, I think I was all right. I don’t think I did too bad a job’.

“So many people have come to see him or got in touch with a message, it’s been so nice and really kept dad going.

“The world goes on but for us four, we’re still at November 11, time’s just stopped since then. Everyone has been carrying on, as they should. But it’s nice that people are still caring at this point, five months down the line. They are still showing up, ringing, messaging.”

Lee’s former weighing room colleague and dual champion jockey Paul Hanagan is now assistant trainer to Craig Lidster, who has been entrusted with looking after We’ve Got This.

“It’s an honour to be involved in this, Graham’s family are closely involved, Steve and Wendy Burdett, who own Eboracum Stables, have given us the horse, so a lot of thanks go to them,” said Hanagan.

“The filly is by Invincible Army, she’s been doing everything right and I’ve sat on her myself. She’s flourished these last few months and we’re really looking forward to the season.

“Obviously, I’ve had a few sleepless nights hoping I’ve picked a good one! Hopefully she’ll be running in the next five to six weeks.

“Graham has made a huge contribution to racing all through his career and I’d love to give something back.”

Lee himself said: “I’m really humbled that a fundraising racing club has been set up in my honour, and that Paul Hanagan has chosen the horse for me. I’ve been shown videos of the horse and she looks very promising. No pressure Paul, but I hope you’ve picked a winner!

“I’ve seen what the Good Racing Company has achieved for Rob Burrow and how it’s united the racing community. I have high hopes that this new racing club achieves the same success with We’ve Got This, and my family and I look forward to following the excitement and being part of this new community.”

Lidster, whose yard is flourishing, said: “As you can see, she’s a nice, big filly, so hopefully we might get to York at some point.

“I don’t want to put her on a pedestal but she’s going the right way, she’s got a great attitude, she loves her work and we’re pleased with her.

“She has size and scope about her, so we’ll be choosing the right track for her; galloping tracks like York and Doncaster.

“This is a special cause. Family is family, whether that is your own or the racing industry – and that is how we look at Graham and anyone else in this sport, we all look to help each other when these things happen.”

More information can be found at:

Graham Lee has thanked the racing community for their support as he begins to make plans to move home following the injuries he sustained in a fall last year.

The Grand National and Group One-winning jockey was unseated by his mount when leaving the stalls at Newcastle in November.

He suffered a serious spinal injury and the sport has rallied around him and his family since, raising over £188,000 via JustGiving for the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Currently at the Spinal Unit at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough, Lee is planning to adapt his house in order to move home and released a statement via the IJF.

It read: “It’s three months now since my accident and I thought it was appropriate for me to say something publicly for the first time.

“Frankly, I’ve been overwhelmed by the unbelievable support and good wishes sent by everyone and I’d like to thank you all so much on behalf of myself, my wife Becky and our children, Amy and Robbie.

“It feels like I’m in a bit of a bubble here at the James Cook Spinal Unit but the girls share with me all the messages that they are receiving and every single one is appreciated, as is the support of my great friends who continue to visit me so regularly and keep my spirits up.

“I never really considered that I had achieved that much as a jockey and it seems crazy that so many people are thinking of us all. I can’t deny it has been – and continues to be – hard for us all, but these messages help us all so much.

“I would also like to thank the team of nurses here who are just unbelievable in the around the clock care and support they offer us all.

“As most of you know, the injuries I have suffered are life-changing and there is a long road ahead. But we have just received planning permission so that work can start to adapt our home in the hope that I will be able to leave hospital at some stage in the next few months.

“Thank you again. I am truly humbled and grateful.”

An online fundraising auction in aid of Graham Lee has been set up, featuring plenty of interesting racing lots.

All monies raised will be managed by the Injured Jockeys Fund but go directly to the 47-year-old rider.

Bids can be placed on a number of experiences, including spending a morning on the gallops of trainers such as Paul Nicholls, Karl Burke, Harry Derham, Donald McCain and Fergal O’Brien.

Tours of several studs are also available, along with hospitality packages at racecourses like York, Newbury, Sedgefield and Stratford.

Perhaps the most popular of the lots, though, will be the chance to play a four-ball round of golf with Sir AP McCoy.

Grand National and Group One-winning jockey Lee suffered a serious injury at Newcastle earlier this month.

A JustGiving page established by Lee’s daughter has raised more than £162,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund, while a nomination to new stallion Paddington, provided by Coolmore, will be auctioned off by Tattersalls on December 4.

The latest auction set up in aid of Lee can be viewed via

Graham Lee has been moved to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

The Grand National and Group One-winning jockey suffered a serious injury at Newcastle a fortnight ago and had been receiving treatment at Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in the same city.

It was reported last week that he was making “positive progress” and he would be moved closer to home when a suitable bed became available.

However, it is expected to be a long rehabilitation process.

An update issued by the Injured Jockeys Fund read: “Graham Lee has now moved to the Spinal Unit at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough where he will remain for the foreseeable future.

“He is no longer in ITU but remains on a ventilator, albeit this can be reduced from time to time.

“His cervical injury, which was to C3/C4, means that his movement is affected.

“His family are pleased that he is now nearer home and remain grateful for the constant support.”

Graham Lee has undergone surgery at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle after a serious fall last week, with his daughter Amy thanking the racing world for its “overwhelming” support.

The Grand National and Group One-winning jockey was unseated from Ben Macdui at the start of an all-weather handicap at Newcastle on Friday, suffering injuries that saw him taken to hospital and admitted to an intensive care unit.

He has since been identified as having an unstable cervical fracture causing damage to his spinal cord, and the racing world has rallied round the rider and his family.

The Injured Jockeys Fund have been heavily involved in those efforts, and on Wednesday afternoon released an update which read: “Jockey Graham Lee had surgery yesterday at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle to stabilise the fractures in his cervical spine and further protect his spinal cord.

“He also had a tracheostomy performed to allow him to be more comfortable and improve communication.

“Whilst Graham has recovered from the surgery well, the extent of his long-term recovery remains uncertain.”

The statement added: “Graham’s family would like to thank everyone for their best wishes and for their support of the JustGiving page set up by Graham’s 18-year-old daughter Amy, who says: ‘I am personally writing down each and every message and donation that comes through and I share all of these with dad. To be honest it’s simply overwhelming and we can’t believe that so many people are thinking of us. I wish I could explain how much of a difference it will make to dad’s recovery knowing that he has your support – thank you from the bottom of my heart’.”

The JustGiving page created by Amy Lee is now approaching £80,000 in donations that will go to the IJF.

Graham Lee has been diagnosed with an unstable cervical fracture and remains in intensive care following a serious incident at Newcastle on Friday.

The 47-year-old was unseated from his mount Ben Macdui as the stalls opened and he was taken to Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Lee has damage to his spinal cord and other complications and at this stage his condition has been described as “very serious”.

A statement from the Injured Jockeys Fund said: “Jockey Graham Lee’s MRI scan has shown that he has suffered an unstable cervical fracture causing damage to the spinal cord, as well as damage to blood vessels in the mid-cervical region.

“He remains in ITU with respiratory support at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle, but it has been possible to reduce his sedation.

“This is a very serious injury and at this early time, it is not possible to predict the extent of long term recovery.

“Graham’s family are very grateful for the many messages of support that they have had.”

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