‘He always had a smile and a kind word’: fundraiser for rider’s funeral and memorial reaches more than £40,000

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  • A fundraising page set up in memory of “one of the kindest, most genuine lads”, Keagan Kirkby, has raised more than £40,000 for his funeral and memorial.

    Keagan, 25, died on Sunday (4 February) in a point-to-pointing accident at Charing. Tributes have poured in from across the racing community, mourning the loss of one of their own.

    A JustGiving page was launched on Monday to help Keagan’s family with funeral costs and for a memorial to the rider, following the loss of the “shining beacon of the family”.

    The page description said that the world has “sadly lost one of the kindest, most genuine lads”.

    “His passion for racing and horses will forever live on through those of us who were lucky enough to have had him in our lives,” reads the description.

    “As a young boy Keagan could only dream of working for the champion trainer and riding winners.

    “With hard work and sheer determination he got there and achieved everything he dreamt of and more.

    “He truly was an inspiration to all those who have a dream, he never gave up. He always had a smile and kind word to say to anyone he met. Keagan, you will be missed by so many people, you really were one of a kind.”

    Keagan had been a work rider for Paul Nicholls since 2019 and was shortlisted for the 2024 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards. British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington, who is among those to pay tribute, said the nomination spoke of Kegan’s qualities as a “thoughtful rider who develops a personal bond with his horses, understands their characters and adapts his riding accordingly, as well as his affable, helpful nature and popularity on the yard”.

    Those words have been echoed in the hundreds of tributes that have been paid to Keagan.

    Racing Welfare’s support line is available 24 hours for anyone affected by the news on 0800 6300 443, as is the Injured Jockeys Fund/Sporting Chance helpline on 07780 008877.

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