The northern racing community has welcomed a state-of-the-art rehabilitation centre for jockeys in Malton, North Yorkshire.
Princess Anne officially opened the Injured Jockeys Fund’s (IJF) Jack Berry House on Tuesday (2 June). Jockeys past and present attended, including AP McCoy, Sam Waley-Cohen and Richard Pitman, as well as donors, beneficiaries, trustees and IJF vice president Jack Berry himself — the driving force behind the brand new facility.
“I am delighted to be here and to have seen it right the way through from the early days,” said Princess Anne, who is patron of the IJF. “I wish I could have ridden like [IJF president] Johnny Francome and I wish that I could raise money like Jack Berry. This is a remarkable achievement — to everybody who made this day possible a very big thank you but this is Jack Berry’s house.”
Six years after the opening of Oaksey House — a similar facility in Lambourn — the £3.1million project has been a vision spanning decades for former jockey Jack, who has spearheaded fundraising efforts since the charity began in 1964.
“Having been very involved in Oaksey House, I have always felt we needed something similar in the north,” he said. “There will be no north-south divide, we are all pulling the rope in the same direction — southern jockeys will be just as welcome here.”
The house boasts top-class facilities including the “Don’t Push It” gym, which offers a variety of fitness and rehabilitation equipment, the Reuben Foundation hydrotherapy pool — one of only three of its particular model in the country — four treatment rooms and three Equicizers.
There is also a respite area which houses en-suite accommodation, including four double bedrooms, and a kitchen/living room area.
The building’s perimeter wall comprises around 2,700 bricks with each donor’s name inscribed, including some of racings greats.
Princess Anne also unveiled a life-size bronze of Jack on Tuesday in the landscaped garden area, sculptured by Willie Newton.
Jockeys and the northern racing workforce will be at the forefront for treatment at Jack Berry House, but a membership system will also allow for other equestrian disciplines and local sports to benefit from the facilities.
Eventer Laura Collett spent six weeks receiving rehabilitation at Oaksey House, supported by the British Equestrian Federation, following a serious fall at Tweseldown in 2013.
“Oaksey House was a huge help to me — because the team are used to working with jockeys, they know we all want to get back as quickly as possible, they are all on the same page as us. Without their help I wouldn’t have known where to start,” she said.
For photos and full news report on Jack Berry House, don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H magazine, out now (Thursday 4 June)