A kind-hearted grandad who dedicated more than 50 years to training greyhounds has been given an award for his dedication to the industry.
Harry Crapper, aged 71, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain for his achievement – much to his surprise.
Harry – who has trained more than 1,000 dogs in Sheffield – was honoured at the awards ceremony in London.
“I had no idea about it. A friend asked me to go so I could see some of my old friends – but they’d actually arranged this award,” he said. “It was absolutely amazing to receive it, though it was quite emotional. It was a delight.”
The grandfather-of-two first started working at a greyhound track in Darnall, which is no longer open, when he left school in 1959, aged 15.
He started as a kennel hand, helping to run the kennels and look after the dogs and later moved to the Owlerton Greyhound Stadium.
Over the years, Harry worked alongside greyhound trainers, until one of them retired in the early 1970s, giving him an opportunity to take on the role.
He said: “I became a professional trainer in my own right. I went up and down the country with my dogs taking them to races, but Sheffield was always my base.
“I have always loved greyhounds, they are such lovely, kind-tempered animals, and I enjoyed training each one to the best it could be.”
In 1960 Harry began working alongside a kennel girl called Berice – and 10 years later they were married and went on to have one son, Stephen, now aged 43.
Harry, of Renishaw, was so dedicated to greyhound training that when the couple bought their first home in the late 1970s, where he still lives today, he built his own kennels so he could train the dogs from home.
Berice was diagnosed with cancer and in August last year Harry gave up his 56-year-career to care for his wife who died two months later aged 72.
“We had a good time together. She was always there. It would have been wonderful if she could have been there to see me get my award, but it was not to be. She would have been so proud though,” he said.
Harry won a number of prestigious races during his career, including the St Leger in Wimbledon in 2001, the Scottish Derby in 1983 and the English Derby in 1999.
His daughter-in-law Adele, 44, said: “Harry and Berice always worked hard to train the dogs. Losing her has been very difficult, but this award has lifted all of our spirits.
“Family and friends are overjoyed that his dedication has been acknowledged.
“He is a very well liked, humble gent who deserves to be recognised.”