Harborough man visits every racecourse in the UK in memory of his late mum

A son has visited every racecourse across the UK in memory of his late mum after she lost her battle with cancer.

Karl Sheils at race course 59.
Karl Sheils at race course 59.

Karl Sheils of Market Harborough suffered a breakdown after his mum Janet Alcock died of bowel cancer at the end of 2017.She had survived for three years with the disease despite being given just six months to live.The 45-year-old warehouse operative decided to try and turn his mental health around by making his own tribute to his mum – and set about devising a plan to visit all 60 racecourse across the country.It came about as the pair used to love a day at the races together, attending 11 together in total.

He said: “I was suffering with anxiety, depression and a breakdown and knew I needed to turn it into a positive so I set about making a tribute to my wonderful mum.“I came up with my own two-part tribute to visit all the other racecourse we hadn’t been to across England, Scotland and Wales.“The second part was to sponsor a race in her memory at her favourite racecourse Hexham. Some of the money I won along the way I used to sponsor my mum’s race.”On May 7 at Hexham the Jean Margaret Alcock Memorial Handicap Steeplechase was held, won by a horse called Wavelength. Along with sponsoring the race Karl also stood in the parade ring, chose the best turned out horse and presented the winning owners with a trophy.Karl recently finished his tribute by travelling to Scotland where he visited four racecourses in one week.He said: “I managed to fit in the last four racecourses all in the same week. Starting at Ayr on Monday, Perth on Tuesday, Musselburgh on Friday and finally finishing at Hamilton Park on Saturday evening. My mum must have been looking down that night as I had five winners.

“It has been a wonderful journey meeting people and telling them my story. I have also been scattering her ashes at some of the racecourses I have been to including the last four in Scotland.”

Karl Sheils with mum Jean Alcock
Karl Sheils during his visit to 60 race courses in the UK