Jessica Bethell "had masses of friends throughout racing" - mother SallyPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Middleham mourns death of Jessica Bethell
MIDDLEHAM is in mourning following the sudden death of James Bethell's daughter and assistant trainer Jessica at the age of 24.
Bethell, who was being groomed to eventually take over from her father, died in the early hours of Thursday morning at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough, where she was flown by air ambulance after collapsing at the yard on Tuesday. She is believed to have had two heart attacks during the flight after earlier suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Bethell rode out on Tuesday morning but later complained of feeling under the weather and told colleagues she was going for a lie-down.
However, after failing to appear for the late-afternoon feeding session, staff became concerned and she was discovered unconscious in her bedroom.
As part of a statement, her mother Sally said: "Jessica had masses of friends throughout racing, both Flat and jumping, too many to mention. She will be so sadly missed by James, myself and my son Edward."
Paying tribute, trainer Ben Haslam said: "I have known Jessica for over ten years and she was a good friend. She was very hard-working, obviously helping out James, and I think that was a role she was enjoying and that she was obviously going to pursue.
"Jessica had a bubbly personality, rode out, brought in new owners and played a vital role in the yard. She will be sorely missed. At such a young age, it is tragic."
Hundreds of messages of condolence were posted on Twitter. Funeral arrangements have still to be finalised.