First class work

Ron and Joan Senior have been nominated for a Prince of Races award for 50 years service at Pontefract Racecourse.
Ron and Joan Senior have been nominated for a Prince of Races award for 50 years service at Pontefract Racecourse.
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A DEVOTED racecourse couple were first to cross the finish line at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Ron and Joan Senior scooped an accolade at the Pride of Racing Awards last week for 50 years of dedication to Pontefract Racecourse.

The pair, who both worked past retirement age, were nominated by racecourse bosses and attended a glamorous awards ceremony at Epsom where they met Princess Anne.

Mrs Senior, 79, said: “It’s a day we’ll never forget, it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. We met Princess Anne and I spoke to her four times, she was talking to us like we were friends.

“We got a lovely award. We thought we might be in with a chance but we got the top one and the whole day was just like a small version of the Oscars. The atmosphere was fantastic.”

The husband-and-wife team were chauffeur driven to Epsom and treated to a champagne reception on arrival. After receiving the award, they watched the races from the royal box with Princess Anne.

Mrs Senior said: “We had complete strangers coming up to us congratulating us, I was speechless. After 50 years, it was lovely just to recognised for our work.”

Mr Senior, 83, joined the racecourse in 1956 and became head groomsman five years later. His wife took on the role of running the canteen and hostel, making sure the stable staff were looked after.

Norman Gundhill, managing director of the racecourse, said: “Ron and Joan are the sort of people who think they are just doing their job, but what they have done for this course goes far and away beyond what would be described merely as part of the job”.