Ready for the off: Work set to start on new £6m rehab centre in Newmarket
Work is set to start later this month on a £6 million rehabilitation and fitness centre for the Newmarket-based Injured Jockeys’ Fund (IJF) charity.
To be built on the site of the British Racing School in Snailwell Road, it will be called Peter O’Sullevan House and will be available to beneficiaries of the charity, current and retired jockeys, Racing Welfare beneficiaries, students from the racing school and the wide racing community in Newmarket.
“Starting work on Peter O’Sullevan House is a massive milestone as it completes the trio of IJF rehabilitation centres across the country,” said IJF chief executive Lisa Hancock.
“We are absolutely delighted that the project is in Newmarket in the grounds of the British Racing School as this will mean jockeys can benefit from the resource and support that we can offer them from the very beginning of their careers until the end.”
The centre will house state-of-the-art rehabilitation and fitness facilities,including physio treatment rooms and a hydrotherapy pool, as well as a light and airy gym, the Injured Jockeys’ Fund head office, which will be moving from its current site in Willie Snaith Road, and a Peter O’Sullevan atrium, which will contain racing memorabilia from the life of the much loved broadcaste, as well as a meeting and work space for those using the centre.
“We have some very loyal supporters who have backed the project from the early stages, in particular The Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, The Thompson Family Charitable Trust and the Racing Foundationbut we will need more support for the next 18 months,” said Ms Hancock.
The charity’s other centres are Jack Berry House in Malton in Yorkshire and Oaksey House in Lambourn.
Grant Harris, chief executive of the British Racing School, said it was ‘delighted’ to be working in partnership with the IJF.
“It will be a major step forward in rehabilitation and fitness in the area and will continue with the aim of providing world-class facilities for those attending the BRS. These are exciting times and we can’t wait for the building to be ready to use late next year,” he said.
Nigel Payne, trustee and administrator of the Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, said: “One thing for certain is that Peter would be absolutely thrilled to have the third IJF rehabilitation centre named after him.
“He was a terrific supporter of jockeys and very supportive of Oaksey House.
“Jack Berry House was, of course, opened two months before Peter passed away in the summer of 2015. His trust was delighted to make an initial donation and we are incredibly chuffed with the news of a 2019 completion.
“We have seen the plans and they look brilliant. We can’t wait.”
Dawn Goodfellow, head of the Newmarket-based Racing Welfare charity, added: “We are delighted about the prospect of work starting on Peter O’Sullevan House at its site at the British Racing School in Newmarket.
“The opening of this newest centre in the Injured Jockey’s Fund portfolio will hugely enhance the facilities and support available to all of racing’s family in one of the sport’s heartlands.
“We greatly look forward to continuing to work with the IJF going forward through Peter O’Sullevan House and on other projects to grow our relationship for the good of the racing industry.”
And in a statement, the Thompson Family Charitable Trust, said: “We have seen how well Jack Berry House works and are delighted that
Peter O’Sullevan House will support Newmarket in a similar way.
“It is brilliant that three of racing’s most important charities the IJF, British Racing School and Racing Welfare, are working together to achieve this.”
Members of the public are being invited to get involved in the project, which is set to be complete at the end of next year. Donations of over £100 will buy a horse shoe to be used in a horse shoe sculpture created by renowned steel sculpture artist, Tom Hill, and made up of some 800 horseshoes that have been worn by racehorses from Newmarket’s racing yards supplied and donated by the towns racing farriers, trainers and owners.
For more information go to www.injured jockeys.co.uk/shoes