New centre for injured jockeys in memory of much-loved BBC sports presenter
- Credit: Archant
Construction has begun on a new £6m centre for injured jockeys in Newmarket.
The Peter O’Sullevan House will house state-of-the-art rehabilitation and fitness facilities including physio treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and a gym, as well as the head office of the Injured Jockey Fund (IJF).
It’s third rehabilitation and fitness centre nationwide to be operated by IJF, with others in Lambourn and Yorkshire, and is located on the site of the British Racing School in Newmarket.
The house is named in honour of the great BBC Irish/British horse racing commentator Peter O’Sullevan, who was actively involved in charity work after he retired in 1997. “His charitable trust (The Voice of Racing) made a initial and sizeable donation to help enable us get the project started, so is only fitting we name our third rehabilitation and fitness centre after him,” explained IJF’s trading and marketing manager Paul Taplin.
East Anglian contractors RG Carter are building the centre and the Ipswich-based MLM Group appointed as engineering consultants, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
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IJF was the brainchild of founding Trustee and past President John Oaksey, and came about following the devastating accidents of Tim Brookshaw and, four months later, Paddy Farrell in the 1964 Grand National.
Both falls resulted in severe paralysis which immediately ended both their careers. Since then the Fund has helped over 1000 jockeys and their families and has paid out more than £18m in charitable assistance.
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The Injured Jockeys Fund helps any rider who holds, or has held, a Professional or Amateur licence issued by the British Horseracing Authority including Apprentice, Conditional and Point-to-Point riders, including any spouse, partner, child or dependant they may have.
Chief executive of the IJF Lisa Hancock said: “Starting work on Peter O’Sullevan House is a massive milestone as it completes the trio of IJF Rehabilitation centres across the country. We are absolutely delighted that the project is in Newmarket in the grounds of the British Racing School as this will mean jockeys can benefit from the resource and support that we can offer them from the very beginning of their careers until the end.”