Crowds say farewell to much-loved jockey
5:00am Saturday 16th August 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
MORE than 150 mourners gathered at Kingsdown Crematorium yesterday to commemorate the passing of former National Hunt jockey and jockey’s valet Richard ‘Dixie’ Floyd.
The family were taken aback by the sheer number of people packed into the building, many of whom knew Mr Floyd through horse racing and had travelled far and wide to pay their respects.
Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Floyd’s twin brother Mark said the fact that his brother was a godfather to four people said much about the way he was seen by others.
“One of the things which wasn’t mentioned in the tributes to him, was the fact he was a godfather four times over, despite having no family of his own,” said Mark.
“A lot of people must have thought a lot of him when you consider that fact. They knew he was a man who could be trusted, to choose him as a godfather. That’s a good mark of a man.”
Mr Floyd, of Bassett Down, near Wroughton, died aged 61, having been admitted to hospital with chest pains. It was his third heart attack.
Mr Floyd, who was well known as Dixie and whose twin Mark was also a jockey, rode around 50 jumps winners during the 1970s and 80s.
He was also remembered by his second brother Robert Floyd, and sisters Jane Collins and Bridget Floyd.
Bridget said: “It’s a difficult day, but that is important in remembering him. It is a mark of the man when you see how many people are here today. He was a good friend. He moved away from the family in Cheshire and made a life for himself down here.”
Mark said: “It was amazing how many of the racing fraternity travelled here today. There are some people we haven’t seen in years. There are people who flown down from Scotland and many of our family from Cheshire.
“The sun’s come out too and brightened it up for him.”
The service began at 2.15pm with Channel 4 Racing’s theme music reminding everyone gathered of the background Mr Floyd had come from.
An opening prayer and hymn, The Lord Is My Shepherd, were followed by a reading from St John’s Gospel and tributes from sister Jane and jockeys’ agent Guy Jewell.
More prayers followed with The Lord’s Prayer, the hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful and exit music of Champions by Carl Davis.