Racecourse couple in running for prize

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.

DEDICATED couple Ron and Joan Senior – who have worked at Pontefract Racecourse for 50 years – are hoping to be first past the post at a prestigious awards ceremony.

The couple, whose love of their work saw them both stay on in their jobs past retirement age, have been nominated for a Pride of Racing award by racecourse bosses and will meet Princess Anne at the awards to be held at Epsom on July 14.

The stakes are high for the couple, who have made it to the final 12.

Mrs Senior, 79, said: “I couldn’t believe it, it’s an honour to be chosen out of 114 and get to the last 12.

“We have both worked here for 50 years so that’s an achievement in itself. I think that’s why the racecourse manager Norman Gundhill nominated us.

“It would be the icing on the cake if we won. We can’t thank him enough for nominating us. I don’t know which category we’re in but it’s a two to one chance in betting terms.”

Mr Senior, 83, joined the racecourse in 1956 as a member of the ground staff and moved the family on to the site when he took over from his father as head groomsman in 1961.

His wife took on the role of running the canteen and hostel, making sure the stable staff were well fed and looked after.

Mrs Senior, who still works in the kitchen, added: “We enjoy it, it’s a nice place to live. The Senior family have been in this house for nearly 80 years, it’s a way of life for us.”

Mr Gundhill, managing director of the racecourse, said: “Without people like Ron and Joan the industry just wouldn’t function, and they deserve to be recognised. The way they’ve worked is remarkable.”