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Racing staff can access support from the Chaplaincy Service to Horseracing, regardless of their religious beliefs, or lack of them.

Racing Welfare offers a wide range of approaches to the support of the industry’s workforce and among these is the chaplaincy service. The service provides support to individuals or to entire yards or studs, at times of pain, loss, anxiety, trauma or need.

The service was first introduced in 2000, increasing support options available to stud, stable and support staff working in the Newmarket area. In 2014, this was expanded and Pastor Simon Bailey was appointed as a National Chaplain to Horseracing to build a pastoral care team for the support of racing staff throughout the UK.

Simon Bailey (National Chaplain)

My role as Chaplain to the racing industry began in 2014. Racing Welfare and Sports Chaplaincy UK have been partners since 2000 and one of the reasons I enjoy the part I play in racing is down to the wide and varied support that Racing Welfare offers to stable and stud staff, young and old. My previous positions including pastoring churches in Arbroath and London have given me experience in pastoral care. I also have experience in the drug and alcohol addiction sector through the organisation Crossreach.

Anyone can contact Simon directly:

07877 981498 /



Nigel Johnson (Middleham)


I am a Methodist Minister and have worked as a Chaplain within a prison environment for a number of years. Serving in prison and the community has given me very varied experiences of providing pastoral care in a whole host of unique situations. I started volunteering for Racing Welfare in 2018 and have been fortunate to be able to share and develop relationships with the support of the Racing Welfare team based in Middleham. ‘Chaplaincy is all about journeying with people, offering to enter their world and engaging with their fundamental questions and life experience’. Having been taken racing by my Father and Grandparents from a very early age, it is hardly surprising that I have visited all current racecourses and some that no longer exist. My interest in racing has undoubtedly helped me to understand some of the pressures that people associated with the industry can be under.

Contact: nigel.johnson@sportschaplaincy.org.uk

Lynne Turner (Newmarket)

07718 140477

I’m Lynne Turner and live in the Newmarket area and have been volunteering for the Racing Welfare Chaplaincy team for the past two years. My training is in Pastoral and Bereavement care and I am a spiritual director for the Diocese of Ely. In my professional life, I am a research historian, writing and teaching on local history and the Fens. I hope to develop some oral history projects with Racing Welfare and the National Horse Racing Museum. I am passionate about horses, having ridden all my life, but sadly had to retire my last horse a few years ago, so I really enjoy meeting all the people I come across through Racing Welfare.

Contact: lynne.turner@sportschaplaincy.org.uk

John Hanson (South West)


I’m a Licenced Lay Minister in the Church of England based in Yeovil, Somerset. In a previous life, I spent seven and a half years in the Armed services followed by 25 years working in the Prison system in a number of Prisons in England, and I’ve spent six years working in the legal profession. I’m currently the Mental Health Lead for the church I serve and am responsible for Pastoral matters. I have experience in helping and dealing with a wide range of mental health and pastoral issues along with experience in mentoring and restorative justice. I’m a carer for my daughter and  I have a passion for our marvellous sport and the people who work and have worked in the industry. I’m excited to meet people at their point of need and to treat everyone as an individual whether they have a faith or not. I’m currently volunteering with Racing Welfare as a Check-in and Chat volunteer which I find immensely rewarding.

Contact:  john.hanso@sportschaplaincy.org.uk

Mike Hills (Newcastle)


I have two childhood memories of the racing world – Firstly, being mesmerised by my uncle’s sign language, who I later realised was a fluent racecourse bookmaker (or ‘tick-tack-man’) and secondly, ‘religiously’ collecting the ‘Daily Express’ for my grandfather each week, who then explained ‘the form’ within and how to place a bet!

My adult background as a Chaplain serving the Royal Navy & Royal Marines, carried the job description ‘friend and advisor of all onboard’ regardless of how they defined themselves. This community, with many moving parts, is much like the racing world – a bit like a fruit cake (having a bit of everything in it!) that requires a light touch and a sense of humour in order to add value when looking after people.

Contact: fathermike@nccc.me.uk

Ann Fairhurst (Haydock Park, North West England)

Even as a child, many years before family members got involved in the industry, horse racing was part of my life, I have such fond memories of watching it on TV with my parents, siblings and our neighbours and then in adulthood starting to attend race meetings around the country, I just love the sport and all that goes with it.

I’ve recently retired from work and look after my Grandson on a part time basis. Some of the other spare time I have is spent serving God through a Chaplaincy team. After completing the Sports Chaplaincy UK (SCUK) induction I am now able to combine my love of Chaplaincy and of horse racing at Haydock Park Racecourse. I look forward to each meeting even more now as I don’t only get to watch the fantastic racing but to chat to staff and other race goers too.

Look out for me the next time you’re at Haydock Park… I’ll be the one in a Racing Welfare gilet with the words ‘Volunteer Chaplain’ on my back

Contact: ann.fairhurst@sportschaplaincy.org.uk.

Please check back regularly as we are recruiting Chaplains throughout the UK as part of this service.

The British racing industry, along with other sports such as football and rugby, has been innovative in introducing this access to pastoral care. There are over 300 sports chaplains in the UK and Ireland, providing emotional and spiritual care to those involved in professional and amateur sport.