Tribute race to jockey who ‘died doing what he loved’

  • A memorial race in honour of point-to-point rider James McNeile is due to take place in the spring.

    James died following a fall at Avon Vale Races at Larkhill racecourse on 1 April this year.

    His friends and family are leading an appeal to fund a race at next year’s fixture (31 March 2018) to celebrate James’s life and love of the sport.

    “We’ve been very touched by the support of so many folk who turned out to celebrate James’s life at his funeral and thanksgiving services, and through a multitude of letters, texts and other remarks,” said James’s brother Peter McNeile.

    “I hope this race will offer everyone a chance to remember James’s positive attitude to life in a way he too would appreciate.

    “We hope to run the race for as long as there is appetite to do so.”

    A statement from James’s family in April said he died “competing in a sport he loved, and around which he had built his life and some wonderful friendships”.

    The race will be aimed at veteran and novice riders with funding coming from membership fees to the James McNeile Fan Club, which has been founded in his memory to celebrate his “Corinthian attitude to participating in sport”.

    Membership costs £100 and includes newsletters and the chance to win racing tickets.


    Jeremy Cottle, chairman of the Avon Vale Races committee, said James was a “keen supporter” of the Avon Vale.

    “This is an excellent way to celebrate his contribution to the hunt, to the point-to-point and to the rural community he served,” said Mr Cottle.

    “We look forward to welcoming loads of folk to Larkhill for a happy occasion next March.”

    For more information, visit: www.avonvaleraces.com/james-mcneile-fan-club

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