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.”

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