Princess lifts the veil on the house Jack built

03 June 2015

Gazette & Herald

THE Princess Royal officially opened Jack Berry House – a £3.1m rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys – in Malton yesterday.

Her Royal Highness unveiled a statue of Jack Berry, vice president of the Injured Jockey Fund (IJF), who has been the driving force to open a centre in the north of England to complement the charity’s existing facility, Oaksey House in Lambourn.

Major figures from the racing industry attended, including vice president of the IJF, AP McCoy, chairman Brough Scott, president John Francome, and CEO Lisa Hancock.

Mr Francome said he could not be more impressed with Jack Berry House. “It is one thing to have a dream about something but to go on and achieve that dream is another,” he added. “Jack is an amazing human being and we are very lucky to have him.” Mr Scott said he wanted to thank everyone involved in the project. “Establishing Jack Berry House in Malton is a major statement for the Injured Jockeys Fund because this can now match the service offered in the South at Oaksey House and set a standard for treatment and rehabilitation that can – and should be – a marker for all sports,” he added.

Funds have been raised through a number of donations including more than 2,000 individuals who bought a brick for the ‘wall of fame’. Facilities at the centre, engineered by Malton firm, Maltech, include four respite rooms and shared dining areas, the Al Shaqab boardroom, the ‘Don’t Push It’ gym and changing and shower areas, decorated in Jack’s token red, linking through to The Reuben Foundation Hydrotherapy Pool. Jockey Jason Hart, who was introduced to the Princess, said it was a brilliant facility. “We have never had anything like this in the north before, it is a fantastic facility,” he added. “At the moment I use if for training and hopefully I will never have to use it for anything else. This is best thing to happen to Malton.”

The Princess Royal, who also unveiled a plaque, watched by guests and children from nearby Malton Primary School who braved the rain to cheer on the royal visitor, said she had been delighted to have been involved in the project from its early days. “Jack Berry House is very much open for business and will be a huge benefit to a lot of people in the racing industry,” she added. “This is a remarkable achievement Jack, and it certainly deserves your name.” Mr Berry, who has visited the project each week since the first brick was laid in November 2013, said noone could feel better than he did to see the place open. “The help and donations that have made it possible have been absolutely fantastic.” “I am very, very proud – this is one of the best days I have ever known.”