'We want to crack on with the new normal' say family of paralysed champion jockey Graham Lee

Gregg Easteal went to find out about a new racing club set up to support champion jockey Graham Lee after his life-changing fall.

The family of a Grand National winning jockey paralysed in a fall have told how they kept expecting him to get back up, as he had done many times before.

Graham Lee came off his horse during a race in Newcastle last year and is now paralysed from the neck down.

The 47-year-old was unseated from his mount Ben Macdui as the stalls opened on Friday 10 November.

His children Amy and Robbie Lee have spoken for the first time about his fall as the racing world came together to raise money to help pay for his future care.

Lee is still being treated in hospital but is hoping to return to his home in North Yorkshire soon.

Amy Lee, who was at university in the south when she got the call about her dad's accident, said: "Robbie rang me and I was like 'it's fine, he'll get back up. I've always had faith in him and he's always been fine.

"It was so weird. You hear about stories like this and you think 'oh poor family, I can't imagine what they're going through'. And then it happens to you. I can't really describe it.

"It didn't feel like him but we were still talking to him and didn't leave his side. He had us from the moment it happened."

Amy and Robbie Lee say they are staying positive and looking to the future after their dad's accident. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

She added: "There's no change in his condition. We're hoping he'll get discharged soon. I'm sure anyone who knows dad knows he can be stubborn at times. He's determined, as we all are. The four of us keep each other going.

"He's got his personality back. He's cracking jokes all the time. He loves his friends coming to see him, his fellow jockeys and reminiscing about the old days, especially jump days.

"It'll be so nice to get him home and crack on with the new normal. That's what it is - we just have to make the best situation out of what we've got."

Robbie said: "His mentality to keep pushing is admirable. He's trying to stay positive as much as he can. Obviously, it's tough but he's staying as positive as he can, which is the main thing."

Lee, who is originally from Ireland, won the Grand National on Amberleigh House 20 years ago today.

The Good Racing Company has launched a new racing club to raise funds for Lee.

The Graham Lee Racing Club will follow two-year-old filly We've Got This, with money raised going towards his care. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

It will follow two-year-old filly We've Got This, named by Lee's wife Becky and selected by Paul Hanagan, the Good Racing Company's Director of Racing.

All of the money raised will go towards Lee's care.

Mr Hanagan said: "She's got a great mind and a great attitude. I've had a couple of sleepless nights thinking have I picked the right one but she's a lovely filly and it's all very exciting."

Lee, who is still in hospital, said he was "humbled" by the support he has received from the racing community.

The Good Racing Company was set up in October 2020 following rugby player Rob Burrow’s Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis.

It aimed to tap into the passion of the racing community to raise money for an athlete facing life-changing news. To date, it has raised over £185,000 for MND causes.

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