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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Bob Champion tells of devastation after cherished photos destroyed in fire

Bob Champion: lost iconic photos in the fire
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Bob Champion has taken to the airwaves in an attempt to replace photographs lost in the Liverpool car park fire last month.

Listeners to BBC Radio 5 live on Sunday morning heard Sir Peter O'Sullevan's commentary on Champion's 1981 Grand National victory on Aldaniti, before racing's most famous cancer survivor appealed for help to illustrate his upcoming autobiography.

Aldaniti and Bob Champion clear the last in the 1981 Grand National

Photos with John Hurt, who played him in the film Champions, were among those lost in the New Year's Eve fire which destroyed more than 1,000 vehicles in the car park next to Liverpool Echo Arena.

"I was at the Liverpool Show for the Shetland ponies Grand National for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and I was going back to the publishers the next morning," Champion, 69, told the Racing Post.

"So all the photos were in there, press cuttings and things I'd saved for years. They went up in smoke. It's devastating.

"A couple of people have been in touch but unfortunately they haven't had anything I really want."

The autobiography comes out on April 13 and Champion said: "Two-thirds of it is what I've done since I retired from being a jockey. The Bob Champion Cancer Trust hasn't quite raised £15 million yet but we're getting near there. We built, own and fund two research laboratories, one at the Royal Marsden and one in the Norwich Science Park."

Anyone who can help with photographs is asked to contact Champion at

A similar appeal has been made in the US as Oaklawn Park is seeking memorabilia from the riding career of Larry Snyder after the retired jockey lost his home in a fire in Arkansas.

Track spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyt said Snyder's wife Jeanette had kept articles and other mementoes from his riding career and Oaklawn is now asking the public and racing community to help replace the collection with any memorabilia they may have.

Snyder, who served as a steward at Oaklawn in recent years, rode more than 6,000 winners in his career.

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All the photos were in there, press cuttings and things I'd saved for years. They went up in smoke. It's devastating

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