Former Grand National and Ascot Gold Cup-winning jockey Graham Lee says he has been “overwhelmed” by the support shown to him and his family following a fall in which he sustained life-changing injuries.
Graham was unseated from Ben Macdui at Newcastle racecourse on 10 November and taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle with a neck injury. Later in November he was transferred to the spinal unit at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
“It’s three months now since my accident and I thought it was appropriate for me to say something publicly for the first time,” said Graham, 48, in a statement released on Saturday (10 February). “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 they’re 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.”
Graham had more than 1,000 winners over jumps before he switched to the Flat, including the Grand National on Amberleigh House in 2004, yet in his statement he said: “I never really considered that I had achieved much as a jockey”.
“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.”
He went on to thank all those who have cared for him and continue to do so.
“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.”
Graham has his sights set on returning home, where his house will be adapted to suit his needs.
“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,” he explained, signing off his statement by saying he is “truly humbled and grateful”.
A fundraising page set up by Graham’s 18-year-old daughter, Amy, raised more than £80,000 for the Injured Jockeys Fund within days and now sits at an ever-increasing total of over £191,000.
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