For over 50 years the Injured Jockeys Fund has supported riders with their rehabilitation, both during and after their careers. Lisa Hancock reflects on another busy year and the challenges ahead.
Since its formation in 1964, the Injured Jockeys Fund has cemented its position as the front-line charity of British Racing through the support of over 1,000 beneficiaries and the deployment of £18m to help those whose careers have been interrupted through injury or, in some cases, brought to an end.
The festive season and the run up to Christmas is always an incredibly busy one for the relatively small IJF team, based all over the UK. The trading of our Christmas stock, cards, diaries and calendars, amongst other items is a very important part of how we raise the funds needed annually to help support our many beneficiaries who require a wide variety of support and care.
The Injured Jockeys Fund is an entirely self-funding charity and we are completely reliant on the help and generosity of our many kind and loyal supporters. The team of nine Almoners has been very active representing us at racecourses across the UK over the past 10 weeks, working tirelessly in all weathers selling our Christmas stock, whilst still fitting in their full-time beneficiary duties. I am very grateful for their effort and hard work.
The teams in Newmarket and at our two rehab centres in Lambourn (Oaksey House) and Malton (Jack Berry House) have also all been very active and involved in a series of events that have included the wider racing and local communities.
Jack Berry House held its annual Christmas Fair on December 4th, which saw the local community come together. This proved once more to be a very successful event with over 30 original stalls; carols from the Setterington School choir; mulled wine and mince pies. The event raised just over £3,000.
Lambourn hosted a ‘Christmas Carol by Candlelight’ service, organised by Lady Oaksey, the widow of our founder, the late Lord Oaksey. The event saw the local community come together at St Michaels and All Angels Church, Lambourn. AP McCoy, Clare Balding, John Francome, Brough Scott and Cpt Guy Disney all gave readings and the carols were enjoyed by all those who kindly supported this wonderful evening.
The IJF is focused on our charitable role of providing Compassion, Care & Support to our beneficiaries, and on supporting the sportsmen and women – past and present – who need our help. The New Year brings many new challenges for us, including the start of building our third rehabilitation centre in Newmarket, which is an exciting development.
I would like to thank all of the charity’s staff and our many supporters, within and outside the sport, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.