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Bob Champion

Bob was born 4th June 1948 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 six months to live. After several months of chemotherapy he returned to race riding, coming back with several winners both in England and America.

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 1981 awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award. In 1983 he received the MBE and also formed the Bob Champion Cancer Trust which to date has raised approximately fifteen million poundstowards 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 Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace 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 was achieved, and the Institute of Cancer also donated a further million pounds towards this project. The new research unit opened in September 2000.