A real lady: Tony McCoy and Andrew Thornton pay tribute to Irene Rogers
Injured Jockeys Fund president Sir Anthony McCoy and his longtime weighing room colleague Andrew Thornton have paid warm tribute to Irene Rogers following her recent death at the age of 63.
Rogers served as secretary to the Professional Riders Insurance Scheme for 17 years and as such was instrumental in ensuring injured jockeys were shielded from undue financial stress when they were unable to ride.
She was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and was a nominee for the jump special recognition award at the Lesters ceremony last December.
"She was always there on the end of the phone to help and nothing was ever too much trouble to her. She was a real lady and someone who a lot of the lads became very reliant on.
"We all know it's a tough business and a tough gig, and when your livelihood and your income is in danger, you want someone who is always there to help and she was brilliant. She is a sad, sad loss and someone to whom jockeys will be forever grateful."
Thornton finally retired in June after a 28-year career during which he endured his fair share of time out of action. He recalled a warmth in Rogers' dealings with injured jockeys that went beyond mere professional help.
"Hers was a voice that everybody knew but very few would know her face," said Thornton. "She was a lovely lady who was very compassionate and very helpful to any of us when we got injured.
"If you’d been off for quite a long spell she would always call up and check how things were going and to make sure everything was running smoothly and you were being properly looked after.
"I spoke to her an awful lot over the years having spent about three and a half of my 28 years in the saddle on the sidelines through injury. I last saw her in November when she was fighting the dreaded big C. She struggled so hard and was just a lovely person."
The funeral will be held at 12pm a week on Thursday at West Berkshire Crematorium in Thatcham. Family flowers only but donations in her memory can be made to the Rosemary Appeal here.
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