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22 August 2022

Lifetime in Racing Award winner announced

Following a national campaign to identify people who have made an outstanding contribution to the racing industry throughout their careers, four regional winners have been selected to receive Lifetime in Racing awards in 2022.

The annual awards, organised by Racing Welfare, seek to recognise those who have devoted more than 30 years of their working lives to the British horseracing or Thoroughbred breeding industries. Nominations were received from up and down the country across the course of July, before being submitted to a judging panel consisting of Racing Welfare Chief Executive Dawn Goodfellow and Racing Welfare trustee and owner of Aston Mullins Stud, Simon Hope.

The winners are:

North – Brian Paul, OB unit manager at RaceTech, with York racecourse booking supervisor Karen Dunbar highly commended

Brian has worked at RaceTech for rising 50 years and was nominated by Kate Hills on behalf of the whole team, who said: “Brian is a highly respected leader and true team player. Always behind the scenes, Brian is one of the unsung heroes who always goes the extra mile in order to deliver at the highest level.”

Karen Dunbar joined York racecourse more than 40 years ago. William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course said: “Karen is an amazing part of the team, a great ambassador. She’s got an amazing touch with customers. No problem is too small or too big to be dealt with.”

South – Geoff Rigby, former apprentice and now groom / stable staff at Park House Stables

Put forward by his employer Andrew Balding, Geoff first arrived at Kingsclere in 1968 and has been there ever since, looking after some top horses including Coventry Stakes winner Berkshire Shadow. Andrew said: “He had to give up riding about 15 years ago but has continued with his stable duties and continuing to look after his horses to a high standard. He prides himself on his horses and their achievements.”

East – Cliff Lines, now retired but formerly head person, racing groom and trainer, with former rider, head person and trainer Les Simpson highly commended

Cliff received no less than five nominations, one of which came from David Letts who said: “Cliff has dedicated his life to racing, starting out as a young boy and not retiring until he was in his eighties. He had no ‘leg up’ in the sport, but started from the bottom and worked hard to progress through to become a trainer in his own right. He is a great advocate for racing and his enthusiasm is infectious, often encouraging others to engage with the sport in some way.”

Les Simpson was nominated for a posthumous award by his daughter Kristina Milligan, who said: “My Dad moved from York at 15 to start his career in racing. He worked for a number of trainers including Noel Murless, Jeremy Noseda, Neville Callaghan & Olivier Doueb. My Dad recently died and I think this would be a fitting tribute to over 60 years in the industry.”

West – Andrew Malam, Head Groundsman at Bangor-On-Dee racecourse

With two nominations, Andrew Malam was endorsed by former colleague Ed Gretton, who said: “Andrew lives and breathes Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse and has been an integral part of the team there for nearly 40 years. Having worked with Andrew for nine years, I have not met before or since anyone with similar levels of dedication to the sport of horse racing, to which he has given the majority of his working life, and he thoroughly deserves such recognition.”

Each winner has been invited to attend a VIP day with hospitality in the early Autumn at a regional racecourse in their area – York, Newbury, Cheltenham and Newmarket respectively – where they will be presented with their trophy.

Racing Welfare chief executive Dawn Goodfellow said: “Once again, I’m heartened to see so many deserving nominations from across the racing industry. It’s always such a pleasure to read the stories, and these awards give us the opportunity to shine a light on some of British horseracing’s longest standing staff members who have contributed so much to the sport. It was incredibly difficult to select the winners – if you looked at the northern entries for example, you have nearly 300 years of service to the industry and in the south over 230 years represented by the nominees – what an amazing story! Congratulations to the winners and indeed all those who were nominated.

“Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to put someone forward, and of course to the racecourses for so generously offering a VIP day to celebrate each of our winners.”

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