Obituary: Ron Senior, Racecourse groundsman

Ron Senior, who has died at 92, was head groundsman at Pontefract Racecourse for more than 50 years.

Ron and Joan Senior

The job ran in the family. His father, Thomas, was a local builder who was foreman in charge of constructing what was originally the Tote Indicator Building and is now the course administration office, with the paddock runners and riders board above.

The management of the day asked Thomas to join the ground staff and upon becoming head groundsman in 1930, he moved into a house on the site. Ron was two years old at the time and lived there until he married Joan, returning in 1961 to see out his career.

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He had been asked to take over by his father in 1956, after an apprenticeship with a local butcher and two-and-a-half years of national service. The staff, said Thomas, were “getting on” and there seemed no-one to take his place.

Ron and Joan Senior

For many years, Ron and Joan were stalwarts of the Pontefract course, with Joan running the canteen and hostel. They were honoured for their outstanding achievements at the Racing Welfare Pride of Racing Awards in 2010.

Joan died last month, aged 89.