Paul’s passion rekindled

Funeral Director Paul Robson, 36, is back in the saddle and came second in his first National Hunt race at Kelso this year, after retiring as a professional jockey 14 years ago.

Paul, who runs Robson’s Funeral Directors in Hawick in the Scottish Borders with his father and mother, raced professionally since he was 16 until injuries to his shoulder stopped him in 2005. During his four years as a professional, he competed in more than 600 races, riding 89 winners.

To prepare to return to the sport, Paul put himself though a punishing training programme to lose two and a half stone and to get fit enough to endure the rigours of jump racing. Some days he is up at 4am to cycle 60 miles and also ride, allowing him to get into the office at 9.30am.

Paul said: “I’ve never been fitter than I am now and when I was back on the horse it was like I had never been away. My racing brain kicked in immediately and I was able to pace myself and get in position to take second place.”

However, Paul is not going to forsake his hearse for a horse as his funeral business is the number one priority in his life. “When I stopped racing, I was lost. I tried lots of things to get that adrenaline buzz again, but training as a funeral director and working with families, I started to enjoy the pressure this brings to get everything just right for them.

“We work to extremely high standards and are justifiably proud of the service we give our families and this focus on giving a high quality of service drives me on.”

Paul’s family business was founded by his great-great-grandfather in 1877 as a joiners and funeral directors, but over recent generations the business focused on joinery. When Paul joined the firm they decided to diversify and relaunched the funeral business in September 2009. Today, six staff conduct about 150 funerals each year.

Now that the funeral business is firmly established in the Borders area, Paul felt it was time he could return to his passion for horseracing.

He explained: “I felt I had unfinished business as I had to retire so early in my career so I’ve been training hard to get into shape and I’m enjoying racing again. I plan, pick and choose my races over the coming season because my commitment to the funeral business will always take precedence.”

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