'There is more that could, and should, be done to help others'
The widow of trainer Richard Woollacott, who died aged 40 this week, on Friday paid tribute to a "much-loved husband, father, son, brother and friend" and announced a charity fundraising initiative in his memory.
Kayley Woollacott, who said her husband's stable star Beer Goggles would run in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham, announced in a statement that she had established an online fund in his memory which would raise money for the mental heath charity Mind, the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Devon Air Ambulance.
Thanking everyone for their messages of support since the tragedy, Kayley said: "Richard was a much-loved husband, father, son, brother and friend. He was also a talented jockey and trainer who achieved many amazing things. Sadly, after battling with it for many years, he lost his life to mental illness.
"While nothing will bring Richard back, I feel there is more that could, and should, be done to help others. I have therefore established an online fundraising site in aid of three important charities in Richard’s memory."
Kayley added: "Beer Goggles will run on Saturday at Cheltenham racecourse in memory of Richard.
"While it will be a very emotional day for everybody, it is important we celebrate all of Richard’s hard work and continue with his plan for this special horse. I’d welcome everyone to attend in support."
The Jockey Club, owner of Cheltenham, and Great British Racing are supporting the Woollacott family's initiative and will be paying tribute to Richard throughout Saturday's meeting in aiding these fundraising efforts.
Racing Welfare, the charity which supports racing's workforce, issued a statement reading: "The whole team at Racing Welfare are very sad to read today that Richard Woollacott lost his battle with mental illness. Mental health problems are a growing public health concern and we recognise this news will have affected many people within the racing community; some of whom may be facing their own mental health difficulties.
"Racing Welfare is committed to ensuring that everyone within racing's workforce – inclusive of racing staff, trainers, jockeys, stud staff and racecourse staff – can access mental health and wellbeing support services when required, free of charge and without waiting lists. All of our welfare officers have received mental health first aid training and are able to provide information and advice to people regarding mental health support and counselling options.
"Racing Welfare’s services are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through Racing’s Support Line, a multi-channel helpline which can be accessed by telephone (0800 6300 443) online (www.racingwelfare.co.uk) or by text (07860 079 043)."
Beer Goggles' rider Richard Johnson said on Friday he believed the Cleeve Hurdle could be a springboard to festival success, as Woollacott hoped it would.
He said: "Richard hoped that he could run well in the Cleeve and then the festival would be on the agenda. I don't see why he won't run another big race in Richard's honour.
"For me it's equally important that people remember what Richard has done with the horse. He bought him and got him to improve from a lower-grade horse into a Grade 2 winner.
"Beer Goggles is very straightforward and at Newbury Richard said just go out and let him enjoy himself and that is what he did.
"That last win at Newbury was a memorable day for Richard and I hope the horse can live up to what Richard hoped he could achieve and be a fitting tribute to a talented trainer.
"I hope everyone will remember Richard and what he loved doing."
Anyone wishing to contribute to the charities can do so by visiting the fundraising page here
For emotional support you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK or ROI), visit a local Samaritans branch or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Mind on 0300 123 3393