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Pontefract racecourse

Norman Gundill has done "virtually every job" at Pontefract (pictured)

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Racing stalwarts Gundill and Sanderson honoured

JOHN SANDERSON and Norman Gundill, stalwarts of racing in Yorkshire for more than 40 years, have been recognised for their services to racing in the New Year Honours list.

Sanderson, who has just turned 71, is chief executive of International Racecourse Management, which manages Catterick, Wetherby, Redcar and Thirsk, and was also associated with York for 20 years, 15 of them as clerk of the course and chief executive, and with Doncaster for 14 years. He is still a licensed clerk and was on duty on Friday at Catterick. 

Sanderson admitted his OBE honour came as "quite a shock" and added: "I would have thought there are a lot of people in racing more deserving than me. I've always thought I've been very lucky, because I've spent the last 40 odd years doing something I love and earning a living at the same time. I've worked with a lot of lovely people, and this sort of thing was never on my horizon at all."

Gundill, who at 70 is Sanderson's junior by a matter of months, also remains very active, as both clerk of the course and managing director at Pontefract, the running of which his family have been involved in since 1937.

Reflecting on his MBE, Gundill said: "I've been walking on air and biting my tongue since I was asked. It's a great accolade for racing and I hope it will inspire others.

"I qualified as a lawyer at a time when running a racecourse wasn't really a profession, and I had the most wonderful apprenticeship at Pontefract, doing virtually every job before becoming a director in 1968, then secretary in 1973, managing director in 1975 and clerk of the course in 1985."

A director of the Racecourse Association from 1977 and on the board of the BHA from 1999 before stepping down from both posts in 2003, Gundill added: "When your name is put forward by people you endeavour to serve it makes you feel very humble."

Also honoured is Mick Both, who receives an MBE for services to the economy.

A former director of engineering for RaceTech, he served with the company for almost 30 years and led the technical development programme, which advanced integrity systems that are now commonplace the world over. 

RaceTech chief executive Brad Higgins said: "This is much deserved and recognises Mick's contribution to the industry."

Both said: "It is a huge honour and so unexpected."

Sir Alan Budd, author of the 2001 Budd report which recommended widespread liberalisation of gambling laws, received a GBE (Knight Grand Cross) for services to Economic Policy and the Office for Budget Responsibility.

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