Amy Lee is in her element. April 3 marked 20 years since her Dad, Graham, rode the winner of the Grand National and she’s listening to all manner of tales involving Amberleigh House, successful wagers and memories that will last a lifetime. Her smile is infectious.

‘I love meeting people who know dad,’ says Amy, who is 19 and studying musical theatre. ‘Everyone has their own really cool stories and everyone has been wanting to help so much. Dad is just dad to me. I never really clicked how incredible he was as a jockey.’

He really was. Lee holds a place in racing that will be his alone for time ever more, the only man to partner the winner of the world’s greatest race and then switch codes from National Hunt racing to become a flat jockey who won the Gold Cup, Royal Ascot’s greatest race.

But on November 11 last year, Lee suffered a fall at Newcastle that left him with life-changing injuries, paralysed from the neck down. The impact on Amy, her brother, Robbie, and his wife, Becky, has been unimaginable but on this particular morning, at a stables outside York, she is happily distracted.

There are a raft of familiar faces here, including the current Champion jump jockey Brian Hughes, all to see the Graham Lee Racing Club, launched by The Good Racing Co, and the young filly called We’ve Got This who has been sourced to run for him by his old friend and colleague Paul Hanagan.

Graham Lee suffered life-altering injuries after he was unseated in the stalls at Newcastle last year (pictured with his daughter Amy, wife Becky, and son Robbie)

Graham Lee suffered life-altering injuries after he was unseated in the stalls at Newcastle last year (pictured with his daughter Amy, wife Becky, and son Robbie)

Graham Lee suffered life-altering injuries after he was unseated in the stalls at Newcastle last year (pictured with his daughter Amy, wife Becky, and son Robbie)

Wednesday marked the 20-year anniversary of Lee's Grand National win aboard Amberleigh House

Wednesday marked the 20-year anniversary of Lee's Grand National win aboard Amberleigh House

Wednesday marked the 20-year anniversary of Lee’s Grand National win aboard Amberleigh House

In 2015, Lee became the first Grand National-winning jockey to switch codes and win the Ascot Gold Cup

In 2015, Lee became the first Grand National-winning jockey to switch codes and win the Ascot Gold Cup

In 2015, Lee became the first Grand National-winning jockey to switch codes and win the Ascot Gold Cup

We’ve Got This is expected to make her debut sometimes towards the end of May. She will be trained by Craig Lidster, who is not charging a penny for his services. All veterinary and food costs have been covered, too, enabling all money We’ve Got This earns to go directly to Lee.

You can be involved, too. Annual membership in the Graham Lee Racing Club costs £17 and watching We’ve Got This breeze elegantly around Lidster’s all-weather gallop, she certainly has the scope and potential to provide some fun.

‘It’s so nice something so positive comes out of something so awful,’ says Amy. ‘When we set up a Just Giving page for dad the target was £100 – last week it hit £200,000, which is just crazy! I never expected that.

‘I’ve always said to dad every time he has a negative thought there’s a donation to show him, he needs to keep going, there are so many people behind him. When he’s had his down days we’ve sat there and we’ve read all the lovely messages and it always puts a smile on our faces.’

This is the first time Amy has spoken publicly about the episode but she handles herself immaculately, with grace and warmth.

‘So many people have come to see him or got in touch with a message, it’s been so nice and really kept dad going,’ she continues. ‘The world goes on but, for us four, we’re still at November 11. Time’s just stopped since then. Everyone has been carrying on – as they should.

Lee's family have raised over £200,000 for his care after setting up a Just Giving page in the wake of his tragic accident

Lee's family have raised over £200,000 for his care after setting up a Just Giving page in the wake of his tragic accident

Lee’s family have raised over £200,000 for his care after setting up a Just Giving page in the wake of his tragic accident

‘But it’s nice that people are still caring at this point, five months down the line. They are still showing up, ringing, messaging.’

There is a reason for this. Lee held a unique position in the weighing room. He was a guiding light to his colleagues, an inspiration who set standards that demanded those around him would follow. His discipline was Monk-like, his fitness and determination to live properly was Olympic standard.

It’s why support has come from all areas. Sir Anthony McCoy visits at least twice a week. Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick has provided support to the family; Francis Jeffers, the former Everton, Arsenal and England striker, has been similarly on hand.

‘While he was a jockey, it was always onto the next thing,’ says Amy. ‘When he won the National, he was just thinking: “I need to go to Hexham now” – he never got to celebrate it, really, but since his accident he’s really reflected and we’ve pulled out the old photos and old videos.

‘When his friends and fellow jockeys come and see him, they reflect on races from years ago and his memory is insanely sharp. I think it’s starting to click that: “you know what, actually, I think I was all right. I don’t think I did too bad a job.”

‘I’ve always thought the world of him but another jockey said to me: “He’s like God… he’s who everyone wants to be like.’ It’s so nice to hear something like that. I wish that I could be half the person.’

Lee held a unique position in the weighing room and his strength of character has been reflected in continued support from the racing community

Lee held a unique position in the weighing room and his strength of character has been reflected in continued support from the racing community

Lee held a unique position in the weighing room and his strength of character has been reflected in continued support from the racing community

She’s doing incredibly – all the family are – and one thing they won’t lack is support. Hanagan, in particular, is determined that We’ve Got This will provide some levity through the summer but, more than anything, he wants to help.

His ambition is to replicate the success The Good Racing Co has had raising money through The Rob Burrow Racing Club, which has donated over £185,000 to MND Causes. Hanagan, who retired last August at York, looks at Lee’s plight through a different prism.

‘It’s such a great quote what Amy says about Graham being seen as God,’ says Hanagan. ‘Everyone thought so unbelievably highly of him but I’m not sure he ever realised that. We were roughly the same age and we got on so well.

‘It all hits home to me because I broke my back in a fall at Newcastle a couple of years ago and I know how lucky I was to get out of this in one piece. Every time I see him now, I tell him “yes, you are a legend”. I hope he knows people are there to give their support.’

For more information visit www.thegoodracing.co/graham-lee-racing-club 

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