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Jack starts work on injured jockey centre

Jack Berry digs the first hole  for Jack Berry House in Malton.Picture Richard Ponter 140365e

Jack Berry digs the first hole for Jack Berry House in Malton.Picture Richard Ponter 140365e

Work has started on Jack Berry House, the £3 million treatment and rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys.

The popular former trainer was on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony in Old Malton on Friday with the building expected to be finished towards the end of the year.

Its construction will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF).

The centre is the lifelong ambition of Mr Berry, the charity’s vice president, who has championed the cause of retired and injured jockeys for more than 15 years.

“It is a great honour to be allowed to kick off the building work at Jack Berry House even if they are not quite letting me build it myself!” he said.

“Everyone knows my lifelong passion for the work of the Injured Jockeys Fund and this project in particular, and it is very fitting we hope to build the entire centre in 2014, our 50th anniversary year.”

He said that he was “delighted, honoured and privileged” that the centre would be named after him, adding that there were “many other people who have contributed to make this happen.”

A single storey state-of-the-art-building, Jack Berry House will include a gym, hydrotherapy pool, treatment rooms and respite accommodation.

It is hoped that the centre, which will be built by a team headed by Huddersfield-based Illingworth and Gregory Ltd, will complement the work of the IJF’s pioneering Oaksey House in Lambourn which has been an unrivalled success since it opened nearly five years ago.

The intention is that stricken riders will not have to travel 200 miles to Berkshire for treatment so that they can return to the saddle as quickly as possible.

One jockey who would have benefited if Jack Berry House was up and running is Brian Toomey.

The Hambleton-based jump jockey, who suffered life-threatening head injuries after a heavy fall at Perth last July, was treated at Lambourn but said Jack Berry House will mean he and others living in the north who are recovering from injuries can now avoid the four to five hour journey to Oaksey House.

“This is definitely going to take off,” he said. “When I was going down to Oaksey House it was such a pain so what Jack is doing is very good for all of us.”

 

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