Bob Champion MBE
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Bob was born on the 4th of June into a hunting family. His father was Huntsman to the Cleveland in Yorkshire, where he started riding at an early age, hunting with his sister and father.
At the age of 15 he rode his first point-to-point winner then went into National Hunt racing with Toby Balding at Weyhill, eventually riding for many top trainers including Josh Gifford.
Bob’s racing career took him to America where he rode several winners. In 1979 he was diagnosed to have cancer and was given 6 months to live. After several months of chemotherapy, he returned to race riding, coming back with several winners both in England and America.
Areas of Expertise
In 1981, Bob won the Grand National on Aldaniti, trained by Josh Gifford. He finally retired from racing in 1983 having won some 500 races. Other major races that Bob won during his career were The Tote Eider Chase, The Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, The Black & White Hurdle, The SGB Chase, The SGB Hurdle and The Whitbread Trial Chase.
In 1983, he received the MBE, and also formed the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which to date has raised over 10 Million pounds towards cancer research.
Bob has his life story portrayed in the book “Champion’s Story” which was made into a feature film starring John Hurt.
In August 1996, Bob undertook “Ride for Life”, which was a ride on several horses from Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London, where he was greeted by Her Majesty The Queen. This was to raise a million pounds towards a new research unit at The Royal Marsden Hospital.
This sum has now been achieved, and The Institute of Cancer have also donated a further million pounds towards this project. The new research Unit opened in September 2000.
The Cancer Trust also raises money in various other ways, with a bi-annual Ball at The Dorchester in London, an annual Christmas Fair, Christmas Cards Sponsored Rides, and individuals throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland arrange many other events.
Bob retired from training racehorses in 1999, having achieved many winners, and continues to live in Newmarket, Suffolk.
In April 2000, Bob commenced a pilot scheme with the Northern Racing College to encourage school leavers to have a career as stable staff and apprentice jockeys.
In May 2000, Bob had the honour of speaking at the Oxford Union.
In April 2004, Bob was a guest on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on their state visit to the Republic of France.
I wish to confirm in writing our grateful thanks for your attendance at our Open Evening. Your speech was warm and conveyed the appropriate message for the evening, and I am certain that many people were delighted by your presence.
UK Sales & Marketing Manager
The Ridgeway Hospital
Just a short note to thank you so much for coming to our dinner last night. It really made a difference that people like you are prepared to put themselves out and join in the fun. There is a downside – you were so good I will have to invite you to the next such event! Thanks again.
Thank you for your excellent speech on Saturday evening. What a true professional you are, for you to have taken the trouble to drive yourself to Edgbaston and speak to us at the dinner, despite how you really felt.
What a great success you proved to be. In racing terms a real winner. It really was a great pleasure to meet you.
Inner Wheel Club