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Middleham trainer's daughter dies at 24
A RACING community is in mourning following the sudden death of an assistant trainer who was found unconscious after feeling unwell.
Jessica Bethell, 24, who was assistant to her father, James Bethell, at the family- run yard in Coverham, near Middleham, North Yorkshire, died yesterday morning.
After riding out twice on Tuesday morning, Miss Bethell went to lie down after complaining of feeling “under the weather”.
She was found unconscious in her bedroom when she later failed to appear for the afternoon session.
Miss Bethell was airlifted to The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, but did not recover.
In a statement, her mother, Sally, said her daughter had been riding since she was 14 when she started on her pony Pip.
She went on to ride as an amateur, but was plagued by injuries.
“This, coupled with her natural ability to judge performance, led her to become assistant trainer alongside her father,” said Mrs Bethell, who thanked air ambulance and hospital staff for their efforts to save her daughter.
“Her love of all the horses was obvious. She had masses of friends throughout racing, both flat and jumping, too many to mention.
She will be so sadly missed by James, myself, and my son, Edward.”
Condolences last night poured in for Miss Bethell’s family.
Middleham trainer Jedd O’Keefe said: “It’s an absolute tragedy and the whole of Middleham is going to be completely devastated.
“Our feelings are very much with the whole Bethell family. They have our best wishes.”
Trainer Ben Haslam said Miss Bethell was a good friend.
He added: “It is a very tight-knit community in Middleham and it has come as a huge shock to everyone. At such a young age, it is tragic.”
Members of the wider racing world tweeted their best wishes to the family.
Silvestre De Sousa, the 2011 runner-up in the British flat jockeys championship, said: “So very sad to hear about Jess Bethell. Thoughts go out to her family.”
Newcastle Racecourse clerk James Armstrong said: “All Newcastle Races’ thoughts are with James Bethell and his family after the sad loss of their daughter Jess.”