John Lucas helped to shape racing at Market Rasen Racecourse
TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the key players in the development of Market Rasen Racecourse in the 1970s and 1980s.
John Nettleship Lucas, long-serving clerk of the course, died at Malton on Sunday, September 30. He was 78.
Over many years, Mr Lucas acted in a variety of roles at the Lincolnshire course and further afield.
His professional association began 60 years ago when he deputised for his father at a dinner given by the Northern Bookmakers Protection Association.
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From the position of staff manager, John later became club secretary.
He was then granted a judge's licence in 1956 – this was in an era before the installation of the photo finish camera.
When John's father, Victor J Lucas, retired from the position as clerk of the course in 1969, he took over the position.
He was also auctioneer at Market Rasen. But his role in horse racing was a wider one. He acted as judge at meetings from Huntingdon to Wetherby and auctioneer at courses such as Bath and Pontefract.
Mr Lucas retired from his auctioneering role at Pontefract ten years ago.
On the death of his father in 1971, Mr Lucas took over as managing director at Market Rasen.
He followed his father into the business of racecourse management and chartered surveying.
He was a partner in George Mawer and Co at Market Rasen, and when the firm amalgamated with Parish, Stafford, Walter and Bell in 1969, he moved to Horncastle. This date coincided with the sale of the racecourse to Racecourse Holding Trust, a subsidiary of the Jockey Club.
Mr Lucas and his father continued on the board with the assurance that they had complete autonomy to run racing at Market Rasen, as it had been in the past.
John's working role at the course ended in 1990, shortly after he moved home to Malton in Yorkshire, a town also closely linked with horse racing in a county he had always loved.
He continued to live in Malton until his death.
His sister in law, Jean Lucas, herself a director at Market Rasen racecourse said: "John and the board of directors instigated many changes at Market Rasen Racecourse.
"These included the introduction of private viewing boxes, the building of a stable lad's hostel and the laying out of a nine-hole golf course.
"He was a lifelong follower of all matters 'sporting', a keen and able rider, a golfer and an enthusiastic rugby player in his youth.
"Whilst in Yorkshire he rekindled his love of fox hunting, riding with the Sinnington Hunt.
"Market Rasen Race Company hope to run a race in John's memory, when the family think the time is appropriate."
Mr Lucas leaves two sons, Charles and Richard and four grandchildren; Emma, Fiona, Edmund and Florrie.
A funeral service will take place, followed by cremation, at York Crematorium on Friday.