Champion jockey and winner of the Grand National, Bob's works as a tireless charity campaigner raising millions of pounds for cancer research. The award-winning jockey's own fight against cancer has been immortalised in a book and a film starring John Hurt. His motivational story and ability to overcome adversity are both moving and inspirational. He is a perfect speaker for an after dinner event.
Born into a hunting family, Bob was riding almost as soon as he could walk.
With a racing career taking him to the States, Bob rode several winners and enjoyed a fruitful sporting career, until, at the age of 30, he was given the devastating news that he had cancer and was given six months to live. Bob came through the chemotherapy and returned to riding, against all odds, with several winners.
In 1981 Bob won the Grand National on Aldaniti, and two years later finally retired from racing after over 500 wins, including The Tote Eider Chase, The Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, The Black & White Hurdle, The SGB Chase, The SGB Hurdle and the Whitbread Trial Chase.
Awarded an MBE, Bob formed the Bob Champion Cancer Trust which, to date, has raised over ten million pounds towards cancer research. Bob’s story is played out in the book ‘Champion’s Story’ and was made into a movie starring John Hurt.
Bob’s next challenge came in 1996 in the ‘Ride for Life’, riding on several horses from Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace, where he was greeted by Her Majesty The Queen. The team raised a million pounds, and together with a further million donated by the Institute of Cancer, a new Research Unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital was opened in September 2000.
Tireless as a charity worker and a racehorse trainer, Bob retired in 1999 and set up a scheme with the Northern Racing College to encourage school leavers to pursue careers as stable staff and apprentice jockeys.
In 2010 Bob Champion set off in aid of The Bob Champion Cancer Trust and the Injured Jockeys Fund, he visited all 60 racecourses in Britain in 60 consecutive days, riding across the country in a 10,000 milemarathon.
In December 2011, Bob Champion received the Helen Rollason award as part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year competition.
Still as inspirational as ever, Bob Champion is a popular choice for sports related events.