News reached me on Monday evening that John Morgan passed away last week. A stalwart of the press rooms on the northern racecourses when I was in my twenties, he was always helpful and a real character, which are few and far between nowadays. Based at Scarcroft in Leeds, he was a big rugby league fan as well as racing. I didn't go to the South Leeds Stadium to watch Hunslet very often but when I did it was guaranteed John would be in attendance, too. Proper old school, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Grand Hotel at Scarborough as part of a preview for York's Dante and Ebor meetings. Often on the panel with John, I even drove him to the Knavesmire one morning after a trip to the East coast. Along with the likes of Joe Rowntree and Mark Winstanley, we spent many an evening drinking and putting the world to rights. We had some great nights at the Grand Hotel.
John worked for the Yorkshire Evening Post for over 50 years and was presented with an MBE for his services to charity in 2005. Aged 90 when he sadly passed away on Tuesday 12th May, I was introduced to racing when people such as Ray Gilpin, Tom O'Ryan and John Morgan were the mainstays of the northern press rooms. Unfortuately, the trio are no longer with us and they haven't and never will be replaced.
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