Posted: March 22nd, 2016
With thanks to the Racing Post/Graham Dench, and to GEOFF LESTER
JOHN SANTER’S funeral will be on Thursday April 7, 2.15 at Church of the Ascension , Burghclere. Donations if desired for Barnado’s c/o Geoffrey Church & Co, Churchgate, The Broadway, Thatcham, Berkshire RG19 3HX. Tel 01635 868444
JOHN SANTER, a highly popular member of racecourse press rooms for 40 years, died peacefully on Wednesday night (March 16, 2016) following a long illness. He was 71.
Cambridge-educated Santer, fondly known as “The Bish” because one of his brothers was the Bishop of Birmingham, began his career in racing as a form expert for the Daily Express in 1968, when he became right-hand man to Clive Graham.
He went on to spend two years with the Racing Information Bureau and five as a public relations officer for William Hill, before joining The Sporting Life in 1983 as a racecourse reporter and race-reader.
Santer was on The Sporting Life for 14 years before turning freelance, and was a race-reader for the Racing Post and a tipster for the Racing & Football Outlook.
His long-time friend and former colleague Steve Taylor, who visited him regularly in Newbury during his illness, said: “The Bish was a lovely man who did not have an enemy in the world. He was extremely popular and always convivial company. He was a good judge too. He would take a view, and I know he enjoyed substantial wins on Saxon Farm in the Triumph Hurdle and Teeton Mill in the Hennessy.”
Former Sporting Life staff also remember a rather less successful gamble, however, when inside information on a candidate whom his brother had assured him was to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury sadly proved wide of the mark.
John Santer leaves wife Rachel and children Evelyn, William, Harry and Annie.
GEOFF LESTER, former chief racing correspondent with The Sporting Life, paid tribute to “a true professional”. He said: “In all the years I knew John he never had a bad word to say about anyone – he loved his racing and, more often than not, he made it pay.
“Steve Taylor and I took him out to the local pub in Newbury once or twice a month towards the end, and John, still taking a glass and a smoke – ‘No point in stopping now,’ he joked – always had a smile on his face.
“He confided in January: ‘The specialists told me in February 2015 there was nothing they could do for me as the cancer had spread to my liver. If I was lucky, they said, I might last 12 months, but more likely they predicted November. However, I set myself a goal – to make Christmas, and to see my seventh grandchild born. Happily, I achieved both.’ ”
From JOHN WATSON: “I was so sad to hear of John’s passing, he was a lovely man and, as everyone else has commented, he never had a bad word for anyone and always saw the funny side of any situation. We worked together for many years. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. My sincere condolences to his his family.”
By BILL ROWNTREE, former Mirror Group photographer
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