The Greyhound Writers’ Association has announced Star Sports Owner, Ben Keith, as the latest recipient of the GWA Services to Greyhound Racing Award, given in recognition for his continued support of the sport.
Referencing the challenges presented in the past year, the GWA congratulated the sport on its response, ‘especially in the work of trainers, their kennel hands and staff, supported by owners, whose love for this majestic breed knows no bounds.’
Applauding Keith, GWA stated: “It’s that love of greyhounds and greyhound racing which shines through seemingly everything Ben does. He is hugely respected in the game as a real champion of the sport and is already a Greyhound Ambassador for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain,
“The GWA hopes Ben accepts this award as an appreciation of not just a passion for greyhound racing shared by so many, but of how this love has manifested itself in race sponsorship and, just as importantly, in the way he spreads the word in all walks of life.”
Reacting to the news, Keith reflected upon how he came into industry: “The best thing I ever did was go greyhound racing that first time at twelve or thirteen years-old. My first bet was on a dog named Sarah Jones, I never looked back and I spent my adolescence in betting rings watching John Poulter, the Power twins, Tony Morris and I learnt so much.
“Many years ago a very good friend to me in greyhound racing said that a greyhound track will give you everything you need in life. It will give you all the friends, all the business, all the clients, all the associates, all the confidants, all the advisors in a crisis, all the mentors that you’ll ever need in life and they were definitely right.
“I believe that if you involve yourself and you give yourself to the greyhound racing family, it will give back to you in spades.
“Not all the lessons will be fun, not all of them will be served up in a nice manner but you will certainly learn from them.
Upon receiving a telephone call, Keith remarked that he was ‘touched’ by the news with it being ‘a pleasure to give back a bit to a sport’ which has been so kind to him.
“It will only be a pleasure to be involved in greyhound racing going forward. Thank you very much Hobbsie, thank you very much the Greyhound Writers Board and thank you the GBGB. I’m absolutely delighted with this award.”
In addition the GWA also acknowledged a number of other individuals for their service to greyhound racing over the years or for making a significant contribution in 2020.
These include the efforts of GBGB trainer representative Peter Harnden, Lincolnshire GT home-finder Kevin Stow, track consultant Nathan Corden, former champion trainer Mark Wallis, retired Derby-winning handler Danny Riordan, Ladbrokes/Coral track boss Ian Smyth, RPGTV executive producer Clive Lawrence, social media innovator Josh Sealey and the team behind the ‘Your Greyhound’s History’ Facebook group.
Posthumous awards were also awarded paying tribute to home-finders Mike Reynolds and Johanna Beaumer, the late Romford trainer Yvonne Gaskin, record breaking world champion Ballyregan Bob’s trainer George Curtis and former GWA life-president Bob Betts, all of whom passed away in 2020.