APPGG aims to restore Betfair’s Fund payments

BGRF chairman Tom Kelly was the invited guest at Westminster at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Greyhound Group (APPGG) on Tuesday.

Kelly, who is also chairman of Bags, reported to the gathering of MPs that the Fund had suffered an £800,000 hit as a result of the decision of Betfair to discontinue its contributions, undermining its ability to support greyhound welfare, especially the rehoming of retired dogs.

The APPGG agreed to use its best endeavours to find a way of restoring Betfair's contribution to the industry. A small group headed by the committee's chair Andrew Rosindell, and consisting also of greyhound owner and MP Ian Lavery and past chair of the British Greyhound Racing Board Lord Lipsey, was set up to pursue the matter.

Rosindell, MP for Romford, said: "Full and frank discussions with Mr Kelly were extremely useful and members agreed to explore all opportunities to support the sport moving forward.

"The APPGG was formed to promote the best interests of the sport and greyhounds by members who are passionate about racing and will continue to do that."

Lavery, the secretary to the APPGG, also paid tribute to Lord Bilston [Dennis Turner], who died earlier this week, aged 71.

A veteran Labour politician, Turner had been the local MP for Monmore (1987-2005) and was a regular at the track. After being ennobled he became joint co-chairman of the APPGG.

Lavery said: "Dennis was a great advocate for the sport. He owned greyhounds and ran them mainly at Monmore. I for one will miss his passion, commitment and in the main his friendly character. The sport has lost a formidable friend."

John Prescott described him as "a true working class fighter for social justice and a passionate Black Country advocate."


By Jim Cremin  11:13AM 28 FEB 2014