Gerald Curry

Gerald Curry
Gerald Curry
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GERALD Curry, who has died aged 82, was a regular sight at racecourses throughout Yorkshire but had a special affection for Catterick Bridge and Redcar.

He wrote a weekly racing column under the pseudonym “George Cross” for the Ripon Gazette, and was author of The Yorkshire Racing Companion, published by the Dalesman Press. More recently he compiled the Who’s Who in Yorkshire Racing, proceeds going to the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Mr Curry was born in York, the first child to William and Ivy Curry. His sister, Jean, was born two years later.

Their father worked as a railway engineer for over 50 years with British Rail and served the full six years of the war in the army, including being evacuated from the beach at Dunkirk.

Under the inspirational teaching of Miss Bruce, Mr Curry embraced learning with enthusiasm from his first day at Poppleton Road Junior School.

Passing his 11-Plus, he went to Nunthorpe Grammar School for Boys in York where he excelled academically, but going to university was not even considered an option, and leaving school at 16, Mr Curry began his working career issuing train tickets at New Earswick station.

National Service can be said to have thrown him a life line; drafted into the RAF in 1949, he glimpsed a world of possibilities beyond the ticket booth.

His National Service completed, he was taken on by British Titan Products following the opening of its York office in 1954.

That year he also married Beryl Watts who he had met some years earlier at a dance in York.

Mr Curry was to spend the next 22 years with the company, the job taking him to London as overseas manager of operations in France, Spain, and Canada.

But the pull of the north brought him back to Yorkshire when, in 1976, he brought his family to Ripon so his children could attend Ripon Grammar School.

He changed career, studied at Leeds University and became a maths teacher at Upper Nidderdale High School in Pateley Bridge, often travelling to and from work on an old moped, no matter what the weather.

He used racing odds to teach the farming boys arithmetic and fractions to great success.

He had a lifelong interest in horse racing and when the family moved back to the North he met John Sanderson through whom he became involved in the introduction of computers and information technology into Yorkshire racing and also the establishment of Go Racing in Yorkshire, which promotes Yorkshire Racing.

His professional relationship with Mr Sanderson was underpinned by the enduring personal friendship he enjoyed with him and his wife Judith.

It was during these years that Mr Curry took to writing about racing in Yorkshire.

Another important friendship he formed was with the late stud owner Guy Reed whom he met at the Ripon City Club in 1975 as a snooker partner.

Mr Curry assisted at both Nidd Hall and more recently at Copgrove Hall stud farms. At the time of his death, he had just completed an extensive piece of work producing a family tree showing the lineage of all Mr Reed’s horses going back several decades.

Like many another in the horse racing world, Mr Curry was a distinctive personality, and proud to call himself a Yorkshire man. London’s Mayfair where he had been at home for many years was never in contention with Ripon and the North Riding.

In addition to horse racing, cricket was his other great sporting interest, and he played - and captained - until well into his middle years.

In his youth he watched Bradman play in the Invincibles tour at Headingley, and more recently he took his eldest grandson to Sydney Cricket Ground to watch history made as Tendulkar went in to bat in his last test match on Australian soil.

His marriage was dissolved in 1989 and he is survived by his children - Michael and Jane and grandchildren Edward and James.

His funeral will take place on Wednesday, February 26, at 1.45pm in Holy Trinity Church in Ripon.