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.”

The Injured Jockeys Fund and mental health charity Mind are the beneficiaries of a magnificent marathon-running effort from Catherine Leeson, who completed her year-long fundraising challenge in Malton this weekend.

The Jack Berry House employee embarked on the unique and awe-inspiring mission of running one marathon every month at the beginning of 2023 and fittingly completed the final miles of her daring dozen with a racing-themed run around the Yorkshire training hub.

Treacherous icy conditions thanks to the recent cold snap meant for a more testing final leg to her endeavours, which started and finished at the IJF’s northern rehabilitation centre, Jack Berry House, and encompassed some of the town’s major training bases, such as Richard Fahey’s Musley Bank stables.

Overcome with emotion at the finish line as she was cheered on by friends, family and members of the racing community, Leeson – who grew up close to Malton – has currently raised over £3,000 to split between her two chosen charities.

“I felt very lucky and very emotional,” said Leeson. “My pride to work for the Injured Jockeys Fund and my pride about being part of the Jack Berry House team was my overall emotion.

“I was very lucky to have a great team supporting in the conditions, it was minus 5C and it was really frosty and icy.

“The team who work at the Injured Jockeys Fund are amazing and the overall support from not only the staff, but the patients, the beneficiaries and the local racing community, I felt very lucky and proud to be a part of that and it made it special.”

She went on: “I originally set a target of £1,000 for each charity, which I know sounds a bit low, but it is a difficult time and everyone is watching their spending; I didn’t want people to feel pressured.

“But I’ve raised just over £3,000 in total so far and I would love to raise another £1,000 or £2,000 if possible.

“I think with everything which has happened recently with Graham Lee, we are always trying to get more funds for the Injured Jockeys Fund and the more the better, but I’m happy with what we have raised so far.”

A spotlight has been shone on the work of the IJF following the incident at Newcastle that saw Graham Lee sustain serious injuries.

Its work is invaluable to the racing community not only in the rehabilitation of injuries but in offering financial support and help with mental well-being, with Leeson having immense pride in working for the company as a sports rehabilitator for the past eight years.

She added: “I’ve always been super, super proud to work for the Injured Jockeys Fund and in particular at Jack Berry House. It’s a really, really special place.

“I’ve never actually sat on a racehorse, I’m not quite brave enough to do that, so technically I’m not from a racing background, but after eight years at Jack Berry House you learn to love the sport, really. When the centre was being built, I always wanted to work there.”

Leeson’s time with the IJF has exposed her to the harsh realities of a 365-days-a-year sport and the life of the professionals at the heart of it, with one of the main objectives of her marathon challenge being to highlight the mental health support available via the fund.

She continued: “The brilliant idea was to run around the racing yards (for the final marathon) and as much as it is about raising money, the challenge is about raising awareness of the mental health side and the support that is needed.

“It’s amazing when people come in for treatment or are one of our respite patients, coming in for a longer period of time, how people start to open up about their struggles and the difficulties of racing.

“Until you are in that position and you see people day-in, day-out, you don’t realise the toll it takes and the internal mental strength that people in racing need to battle through the highs and lows of it.

“It would be over 10 yards we ran past or through and it was amazing to fit in as many yards as possible.

“Malton is such a hub for racing and I really wanted to, as well as raise awareness, just celebrate the work of the Injured Jockeys Fund. We had a lovely day and lots of beneficiaries joined us afterwards, it was a special day.”

There was also another reason close to the heart of Leeson for raising such vital funds for two worthy causes, with herself once a beneficiary of IJF support at a time of need.

“A few years ago, I went through a really challenging time and, as amazing as the team is, they not only look after their patients, but they look after their staff really well,” she explained.

“They sensed after a little bit of time, I wasn’t quite right, and I was fortunate enough that the team gathered round me and picked me up and I was able to access some amazing mental health support through the charity, which was invaluable.

“Having gone through that myself, I could see what a difference it makes to our patients – and without them, I don’t know where I would have been, which is a really scary thought.”

She went on: “I decided I wanted to give something back to the charity and continue the amazing work they do on the mental health side alongside the stuff we do day-to-day in the centres.

“I also chose Mind, as I wanted to fundraise for people who didn’t have access to specialist facilities and so no one should have to suffer with poor mental health.”

Now, despite almost falling at the very first hurdle, she can look back with pride, having successfully completed her ambitious challenge when crossing the finish line at the Jack Berry House she holds dear.

Leeson said: “I took a fall when doing the first one and knocked myself out after 30 kilometres. I managed to continue and looking back, I was thinking why did I decide to do 12!

“But I’m so glad I did and, as well as a big challenge, it’s been a brilliant experience.”

Donations can be made via the following link:

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

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