Ronald Atkins, 77, often known as Ron, stated he was ‘very happy’ and ‘very honoured’ to be included within the Queen’s Birthday Honours Listing.
“I used to be shocked to obtain this honour for doing one thing I really like doing,” stated the grandfather-of-four.
Ron loved a 26-year profession as a jockey, changing into one of many prime 20 soar jockeys within the nation.
He was initially serious about boxing, however began using horses when his household moved from North London to Crawley, finally securing an apprenticeship.
From 1968 to 1986 he was Vice President of the Skilled Jockeys Affiliation (PJA) and likewise a racecourse Security Officer.
The latter position concerned vital campaigning for jockey security helmets, physique protectors and lobbying for the elimination of concrete posts on racecourses.
Ron stated the unique jockey helmets had been ‘like a basin caught in your head, like a paper mache factor’.
Due to his efforts, they’re now obligatory and a lot better high quality: “You’d must drive a bus over them to get to the cranium of a jockey.”
Ron additionally campaigned for the introduction of again pads that protected the backbone. “Folks used to get trodden on and kicked within the again, there was no safety in any respect,” he stated.
He’s no stranger to damage himself: in his profession as a soar jockey he broke his collar bone 5 instances, broke his toes, nostril and sternum and had ‘just a few bouts of concussion’, amongst different accidents.
Ron was the instigator and driving pressure in organising the Skilled Jockeys Affiliation Pension Fund, and stated this was his proudest achievement.
It took ‘a variety of work’ to safe funding however, resulting from these efforts, jockeys now obtain a really aggressive pension.
“None of that was about after I was a younger lad,” he stated.
For the reason that Fund’s inception in 1984, over £16 million has been invested for the good thing about jockeys and Ron nonetheless sits on the board of the Pension Fund.
He additionally stays on the board of trustees for the Skilled Jockeys Affiliation and continues to play ‘a really lively and significant position’, sharing his data and experience freely.
On a voluntary foundation, he’s an everyday customer for beneficiaries of the charity The Injured Jockeys Fund.
His visits had been described as ‘a big assist to injured jockeys’.
These days, Ron continues to be concerned on the planet of racing, working at Goodwood and different racetracks.