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Tributes paid to popular member of Newmarket's racing community who died on Friday

Tributes have been paid to a popular member of Newmarket’s racing community who died in a tragic accident on his 66th birthday on Friday.

The exact circumstances of Kevin Peckham’s death are still being investigated but it appears he died in an incident with a horsewalker at Cheveley’s Wallhouse Stud while he was working on his own.

The stud is the base for a racehorse training, breaking, and rest and rehabilitation centre run by Mr Peckham’s son, George, a former Newmarket trainer, who also runs a similar operation out of Yellowstone Park Stables, in the town’s Hamilton Road.

Kevin Peckham who died on Friday
Kevin Peckham who died on Friday

George said the family, including his mother, Jackie, brother Andrew and grandmother Hazel, had been devastated by his father’s death.

“He had been working with me for the last couple of years,” said George, “it had always been an ambition of ours to be able to work together.

“His life was horses and I am so happy to have had these last two years together. His experience with horses was invaluable to get us off the ground and get us going. He was so dedicated to horses and to his family and had had a fantastic life in racing.”

Mr Peckham, who lived in Old Station Road, was born in Brighton, but had moved with his family to Newmarket where his father, Mervyn, who died in 2009 at the age of 80, ran Longholes Stud at Cheveley. His son worked in Ireland for Classic winning trainer, Liam Browne, at The Curragh and also spent time in America training a small string in Kentucky, where for a while his parents ran a small stud.

Back in England he worked for more than 10 years for Victoria Coldrey, at her pre-training operation in Barrow taking horses for town trainers Sir Mark Prescott and the late Sir Henry Cecil.

He then went to work for Derby-winning trainer William Haggas at his Fordham Road yard.

Paying tribute, Mr Haggas said: “It’s come as a big shock to us all at Somerville Lodge. Kevin was with us for 14 years and was a huge part of any success we might have had in that period and beyond.

“He was good man, everyone loved him and he was very popular. He was very dedicated and very smartly turned out. He will be a sad loss.”

Mr Peckham’s son, Andrew, said he was a very proud father and grandfather to three grandchildren with another on the way.

“We are all absolutely devastated by what has happened,” he said. “He was a proud and very active grandfather, a loving husband, and a generous parent. We shall miss him terribly.”

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire Police confirmed they were called to the stud at around 2pm on Friday to reports of a sudden death and that the coroner had been informed.

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