The award-winning York Handmade Brick Company is galloping ahead with work on Jack Berry House, the new northern centre for injured jockeys in Malton.
York Handmade, based at Alne, near Easingwold, is supplying 50,000 high-quality bricks for the £3.5 million rehabilitation and respite centre in Old Malton Road.
Jack Berry, the legendary trainer who is the driving force behind the new centre, said: “We are delighted that York Handmade’s wonderful bricks are going to be an integral part of our new injured jockeys centre. We are very keen to use local companies whenever possible and the fact that York Handmade makes such fantastic individual bricks meant our decision was a no-brainer.
“One of the key features of the new centre will be a special wall, where each brick has been bought for £50 by supporters, who include all the leading racing personnel in the UK and Ireland past and present like Tony McCoy, Lester Piggott, Vincent O’Brien, Barry Hills and John Francome. These bricks are named individually, which is an intricate and time-consuming process. But it is also a perfect job for York Handmade.”
David Armitage, the chairman and managing director of York Handmade, commented: “This is a project which is especially close to my heart. The Injured Jockeys Fund, which is raising the £3.5 million needed to build Jack Berry House, provided tremendous support for my daughter Annabelle, a jockey who was badly injured in a fall. As a family, we are very grateful”.
Mr Armitage continued: “So it is a great honour to provide the bricks for Jack Berry House, which is the first centre of its kind for jockeys in the north of England. Apart from providing individually named bricks for the wall, we are supplying the bricks to build the rest of the centre, too. It is a major contract”.
He added: “They have chosen our popular Old Clamp Blend for Jack Berry House, which will give the building a sense of heritage and tradition and fits in well with Malton, a beautiful, old-fashioned Yorkshire market town. We are delighted to be part of such an important and pioneering project.”
The first brick will be laid this month and Jack Berry House is scheduled to open its doors in the autumn of next year. A single story, state-of-the-art-building, it will include a gym, hydrotherapy pool, treatment rooms and respite accommodation.
Jack Berry explained: “It is particularly fitting that the new centre will open in 2014, because that is the 50th anniversary of the Injured Jockeys Fund, which was set up in 1964 after champion riders Tim Brookshaw and Paddy Farrell were paralysed in falls which ended their careers. Since then the Fund has raised and spent more than £17 million helping more than 1,000 jockeys, many of whose injuries were so severe that they had to give up riding.
Mr Berry added: “The Fund’s first rehabilitation centre Oaksey House, named after Lord Oaksey, was opened in Lambourn, Berkshire by the Princess Royal in 2009. It has proved to be very successful and we aim to repeat that success up here in Malton. The Princess Royal herself is very supportive of our Malton project.”
Lisa Hancock, Chief Executive Officer of the Injured Jockeys Fund said: “We are very excited that work is underway on Jack Berry House and that within the next 12 months, we will see the north with its own rehabilitation centre for jockeys. Fundraising is now beginning in earnest and we hope that the local as well as the wider community will continue to offer such great – and very much appreciated – support.”