Crash victim Jamie leads tributes to ladies whose support means so much
Bike racers are always quick to heap praise on the Injured Riders' Welfare Fund and the three very special ladies who keep it running - none more so than Ballyclare's Jamie Hamilton, who has been out injured since his horror smash at last year's Isle of Man TT.
Currently convalescing at home, Hamilton is now well on the road to recovery following his 170mph crash in last year's Senior TT, but will not get back to work until June at the earliest, which will be a year without any form of income.
Taking that into consideration he said: "I've spoken to Jan Simm from the Fund since my accident and what they are doing for the sport is just fantastic. To have a cheque land on your doorstep without even requesting any support - I mean where does that even happen these days? It doesn't. So they fully deserve the award. It's the least the sport could do to show its appreciation."
Former Irish Superbike champion Kirk Jamison is another advocate of the Injured Riders' Welfare Fund. The Greyabbey man, like Hamilton, received uninitiated support after breaking his back at Croft in 2012.
The resulting injuries ended Jamison's career, but he was quick to acknowledge the trio of women who supported him financially in his time of crisis.
"I knew Yvonne Ward from about the racing paddock but very little about the Fund. So when they made contact just a few days after my crash, then a cheque arrived shortly afterwards, I have to say I was humbled."
Explaining his situation, that will resonate with many of his peers, Jamison added: "We all have insurance as racers, but when your family have to take unplanned leave from work to sit at your bedside in England, the costs soon mount up. So no matter how well prepared you think you are, the Fund's support is very much need and welcomed."
Like many riders who have been supported, the chance to reciprocate the gesture comes in the form of fund-raising nights, which have become the lifeblood of the Injured Riders' Welfare Fund over the years.
Charlotte Pullan is one woman who has experienced firsthand, the trauma that motorcycle racing and injuries can heap upon a family. She refers to the Fund trustees as quite simply: "Three wonderful women."
Charlotte's partner Stephen Thompson lost a limb following an incident at last year's International North West 200, and as she explains, the Fund is not just about delivering financial support.
"As a group, Jan, Sheila and Yvonne come and talk to you and give you their time. They are genuinely there for you, and that means as much as getting financial support, which they have also done for us," explained Charlotte, whose husband Stephen, a self-employed builder, hasn't worked since his accident last May.
"They really are three amazing woman who do an incredible job and I'm sure I speak for all injured riders when I say, 'you just don't realise how valuable their support is until you need it'."
Charlotte has been involved in sponsored walks and fund-raising nights for the 'Fairy Godmothers' Fund to provide support for the sport that is ingrained in their DNA, for many more years to come.