Jockeys Frankie Dettori, Jamie Spencer, Tom Queally, and Shane Kelly carry the coffin of legendary punter and former Newmarket trainer Barney Curley
Jockeys Frankie Dettori, Jamie Spencer, Tom Queally, and Shane Kelly carried the coffin of legendary punter, and former trainer, Barney Curley, into Newmarket’s Catholic Church for his funeral service today.
Pall bearers also included his former assistant trainer Andy Stringer and Glen Manchett, group director of the Burwell-based Manchett’s motor group who provided transport for Mr Curley’s Zambia charity.
Mr Curley, who was 81, died at his Newmarket home last month.
Coronavirus restrictions meant numbers at the mass were limited but those joining the family mourners included champion trainer John Gosden, former trainer Jeremy Noseda and legendary Irish racehorse owner J P McManus.
The congregation also included Father James O’Kane, a missionary in Africa who worked with Mr Curley for the last 30 years in Zambia the country he did much to help through Direct Aid for Africa (DAFA) the charity he established the year after the death of his 18-year-old son Charlie in a car accident in 1995.
“There’s no doubt Barney has left all of us with many memories,” he told the congregation. “The first thing that comes to mind is the great heart that Barney had and the love he had for the poor and less privileged. He always spoke down the years of giving a little back, that was his message to his friends. Barney didn’t just give a little back, he gave everything.
“He gave his life to the less privileged. I know he will be remembered and prayed for in Zambia for many years to come. When I think of Barney I think of the great saints and they all had a love of the poor. It was the same with Barney, he had a great love of the poor and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to help. That’s why he spent his life, the last 30 years, coming to Zambia and building schools, colleges, youth centres, clinics, and hospitals.
“He didn’t just come to start them off but came back three or four times a year to supervise, in a sense, but encourage those implementing the projects.
“When I spoke to Barney two weeks ago about dying and his life, the one regret he had was that he couldn’t get back one last time to see the projects but to especially see the friends he had there.”