Under starters orders for Tommy tribute

THE family of late photographer Tommy Leckey will be dressing up for the races next month and attending a special event organised in the Banbridge man’s honour.

Down Royal racecourse is staging a race at its May meeting in memory of the popular photographer and equestrian fan who passed away after an illness last August.

The ‘Tommy Leckey Memorial Hurdle’ tribute race will be held on May 6 and the Leckey family will be out in force to cheer on the jockeys and horses - while remembering a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and brother.

Speaking to the Leader yesterday (Monday), Tommy’s wife Geraldine said the occasion would be an extremely emotional one, but also one which would make her very proud.

“We are so pleased that this race is being dedicated to Tommy because horse racing was his second religion and he would go to the races and take his photographs in rain, wind, hail and snow,” she said. “It will also be very sad for us because racing without Tommy Leckey seems incomprehensible.”

Geraldine will be joined on the family day out by her daughter Tanya, son-in-law Adrian and grandchildren Anna, Aaron and Sarah, as well as Tommy’s sisters Bernadette Martin and Kathleen Pepper.

Over the years, Tommy’s racetrack photographs appeared in many top equestrian publications and he captured several outstanding moments of glory in the world of sport, including the exhilarating victory for jockey Ryan Moore as he rode his racehorse ‘Workforce’ across the finish line at the Epsom Derby in 2010.

The 68-year-old was well known for his keen eye for an angle and in addition to his skills in equestrian photography, he also snapped the moments that mattered in hurling and football, as well as covering a host of general community events in Banbridge for local newspapers.

The tribute race will be Geraldine’s first racing event for many years, having been a regular visitor to Ascot and Epsom with Tommy and enjoying the drama of watching numerous races being lost and won.

“Tommy would have been delighted with this,” she added, “and because it will be such a special occasion, I might even have a little flutter.”