Bob Champion is a retired English jump jockey best known for recovering from testicular cancer to win the 1981 Grand National on gelding Aldaniti.
Born into a hunting family, Bob was riding almost as soon as he could walk, and settled into a fruitful horse racing career that took him to the United States and saw him ride several winners.
At the age of 30, however, he was given the devastating news that he had cancer, and doctors gave him six months to live. Against all odds, Bob came through the intensive treatment, which saw him treated with an orchidectomy and with the drugs bleomycin, vinblastine and cisplatin.
Soon enough he was back in the saddle, but few could have predicted his cathartic triumph at the 1981 Grand National, the cancer survivor conjuring up one of the most heart-warming and tear-jerking stories of the competition by winning on a horse who suffered from chronic leg problems.
Two years later Bob retired from racing following upwards of 500 wins and was awarded an MBE in 1983, the same year that he founded the Bob Champion Cancer Trust which, to date, has raised over ten million pounds towards cancer research.
As a testament to Bob’s inspirational story, it was 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 Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London, 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.
An eloquent and articulate deliverer of talks, Bob is a consummate professional in front of an audience, proving testament to his impressive resume of previous large engagements as a horse racing speaker.
To book the inspirational Bob Champion MBE as a horse racing speaker or after dinner speaker, contact the Champions Motivational agency via the online form or by telephone on +44 1509 85 29 27.
“Just a short note to thank you so much for coming to our dinner last night. It really made a difference that people like you are prepared to put themselves out and join in with the fun. There is a downside – you were so good I will have to invite you to the next such event.”