JIM GALE, chief executive of the Northern Racing College (now National Horseracing College) from its establishment in 1984 until 2008, has died in hospital after a short illness.
A planning inspector by profession, he was head of the planning and development section of the South Yorkshire County Council employment promotion and development unit when the project to provide training for young people in the area, which would enable them to get work in the horseracing industry, was first mooted.
This led to the opening at Rossington Hall, near Doncaster, in July 1984 of the South Yorkshire Apprentice Race Training School, under the chairmanship of Colin Wedd, who died on 28 December. Following the abolition of South Yorkshire County Council in 1986, a charitable trust was formed to operate what became the Northern Racing School, later the Northern Racing College and now the National Horseracing College.
Gale, who was made an OBE in the 2011 New Year honours list for services to the horseracing industry, headed the Jockey Club team responsible for organising a pilot scheme that led to the establishment of the first awarding body for the accreditation of vocational qualifications in racing. He also helped to form the European Association of Racing Schools.
Stephen Padgett, chief executive of the National Horseracing College, said: “We are saddened to learn of the death of Jim Gale, who was the Northern Racing College’s first chief executive. Coming only a month after the death of the NRC’s first chairman Colin Wedd, Jim’s passing ends another significant link with the foundation of the College.
“Jim’s considerable energies and efforts helped to pave the way for today’s excellent industry model providing a range of education and training programmes, some of which are eligible for government funding to offset the cost to the industry.
“The condolences of everyone associated with the NHC go to Jim’s family.”
Jim’s funeral will be held at 2pm on February 13 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Spinkhill, Sheffield, S21 3YB.