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Graham Lee: Jockey 'overwhelmed' by support since 'life-changing' injuries

Jockey Graham Lee in silks
Graham Lee won the Grand National with Amberleigh House in 2004

Jockey Graham Lee says he has been "overwhelmed" by the support received since suffering life-changing injuries in an accident at Newcastle Racecourse.

In November the Grand National-winning rider was unseated from his mount Ben Macdui as the stalls opened and sustained serious spinal injuries.

"Frankly, I've been overwhelmed by the unbelievable support and good wishes sent by everyone," said Lee, 48.

The Irish jockey was speaking publicly for the first time since the incident.

"I'd like to thank you all so much on behalf of myself, my wife Becky and our children, Amy and Robbie," said Lee in a message via the Injured Jockeys' Fund.

He was in intensive care before being moved to the spinal unit at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

"It feels like I'm in a bit of a bubble here at the James Cook Spinal Unit but the girls share with me all the messages that they are receiving and every single one is appreciated, as is the support of my great friends who continue to visit me so regularly and keep my spirits up," said Lee.

'There is a long road ahead'

Lee, who is based in North Yorkshire, rode more than 1,000 winners over the jumps, including Amberleigh House for trainer Ginger McCain in the 2004 Grand National.

He switched to riding on the Flat in 2012 and won the Gold Cup at Ascot three years later with Trip To Paris.

"I never really considered that I had achieved that much as a jockey and it seems crazy that so many people are thinking of us all. I can't deny it has been - and continues to be - hard for us all, but these messages help us all so much," he added.

"I would also like to thank the team of nurses here who are just unbelievable in the around-the-clock care and support they offer us all.

"As most of you know, the injuries I have suffered are life-changing and there is a long road ahead. But we have just received planning permission so that work can start to adapt our home in the hope that that I will be able to leave hospital at some stage in the next few months.

"Thank you again. I am truly humbled and grateful."