They’re off, to build centre for jockeys

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WORK can finally begin on a new £3m rehabilitation centre for injured riders after the signing of the main contract.

Huddersfield-based Illingworth and Gregory Limited will build Jack Berry House in Malton as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Set up in 1964 after North Yorkshire rider Paddy Farrell was paralysed in the Grand National just weeks after weighing room colleague Tim Brookshaw was also injured at Aintree, the new complex will transform the treatment of jockeys across the North so they no longer have to travel several hundred miles for specialist care.

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

It derives its name from the Leeds-born training legend who one of the founding fathers of the IJF half a century ago. His tireless work for the charity saw him honoured with the George Ennor Trophy for Outstanding Achievement at the 2013 Horserace Writers and Photographers Association Derby Awards.

“This is a dream come true for me and, if allowed, I would gladly build Jack Berry House myself!” said the charity’s vice president.

“As it is it is very fitting that we start work almost 50 years exactly to the day that my friend Tim Brookshaw had his terrible fall which resulted in the IJF being set up a few months later in 1964.”

IJF chief executive Lisa Hancock also issued an upbeat fundraising report yesterday.

“Nearly £2m has now been ring fenced specifically for the project and I am very hopeful that the remaining £1m needed can be found through fundraising so we don’t have to dip into reserves, as these will be crucial in financing the on-going running costs,” she said.