Ann Saunders Retires from the PJA after 43 Years

Ann Saunders, Executive Director and Company Secretary of the PJA and stalwart of the racing industry, retires today after 43 years of service. During her tenure, Ann has dedicated almost her entire career working tirelessly for jockeys, helping them both on and off the racecourse.

Ann also acted as a director for the commercial arm of the Association alongside being a trustee of both the Jockeys Association Trust and PJA Pension Scheme, which oversees the pensions of hundreds of individual jockeys.

Ann has therefore incorporated input from a number of PJA Presidents under both codes, including Lester Piggott, who wrote a personal letter of appreciation to her from Switzerland, AP McCoy, through to current Joint Presidents Richard Johnson and PJ McDonald.

Numerous vital improvements to Professional Jockeys welfare and well-being have evolved under Ann’s watchful eye over the last four decades, including the introduction of the Jockeys Pension Scheme, Jockeys sponsorship, The Lester’s annual awards ceremony, Career Ending Insurance cover and many other important services and initiatives.

Ann, who was awarded an MBE in 2002 for her services to Jockeys, said:

“I am who I am today because of the Jockeys I’ve had the pleasure to work for, their work ethic, loyalty and strength in times of adversity has been inspirational. It has been a great honour to work for the PJA, it has been far more than just a job and next to my family, it has been my life. No matter how hard I work, and there have been challenges at times, it has never felt like work. I would like thank Jockeys past and present and all the good people who helped and supported me along the way and wish them all the very best for the future, never more so at this time of acute uncertainty.”

Many PJA figures, both past and present, paid tribute to Ann. Sir Anthony McCoy, formerly Jumps President of the PJA for many years, said:

“Ann was like a mother figure to many Jockeys throughout her time at the PJA, her kindness and dedication to Professional Jockeys will be greatly missed. Not every Association is lucky enough to have an Ann Saunders. I wish her all the best in retirement. She deserves it.”

Richard Johnson, former champion NH Jockey and PJA NH President said:

“Ann has been an incredible part of the PJA, making it part of her life not just a job. She has also become a great friend to the racing community and will be greatly missed. I wish her a very happy retirement.”

George Baker, former Jockey and current PJA Board Member, added:

“Ann has been such a massive help to so many Jockeys during her time at the PJA. She was always easy to communicate with and had an invaluable ability to explain issues clearly. Ann will be greatly missed and I hope she can really enjoy her well-deserved retirement.”

Paul Struthers, current Chief Executive of the PJA, said:

“On behalf of the team and all our members both past and present, I cannot thank Ann enough for herservice and dedication. Ann is one of those unsung heroes of the sport and her dedication to the PJA and to Jockeys is remarkable. Never has this dedication been better demonstrated than by her decision to voluntarily defer her retirement by a month to help see us through the initial phase of the Coronavirus Crisis.

“It was such a shame that we weren’t able to give her the send-off she so thoroughly deserved that we had planned at Newbury in March, but we will ensure her career is celebrated appropriately when the situation allows. We’ll all miss her very much.”

Nigel Payne, Chairman of the PJA, said:

“I have known Ann for close on 30 years. She is completely driven by the PJA and her dedication and passion are incredible. They say no one is irreplaceable but I am not so sure. What is for certain is that no one person could have given so much to the Jockeys she so cared for and admired”

24th April 2020

Notes for Editors: Contact: Paul Struthers, PJA Chief Executive – Tel: 07966 590105 email:

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