Racing has lost a true servant of the industry with the passing today of former Stipendiary Steward, Mr Cyril Watson. Cyril was 90 years of age.
Well known in two States, Cyril was a long-serving Steward who officiated for more than 40 years in the northern part of New South Wales and also in regions of Queensland.
Cyril was formally the Chief Steward in a number of Regional Associations throughout his tenure, but most predominately in the NSW Hunter and North West region in the 1980s then served many years as an Assistant Steward on the Northern Rivers stewards panel.
Cyril worked for many years before retiring from raceday work in 2010 at the ripe old age of 83. He maintained a keen interest in the industry thereafter and still attended race meetings up until recently.
Racing NSW Deputy Chairman of Stewards, Philip Dingwall, said that it was with great sadness he learnt today of Cyril’s passing.
“Cyril was well-respected by all involved in racing and had a great demeanour for diffusing difficult situations," Mr Dingwall said. “He remained a very good friend and I was fortunate to share lunch with him recently where he still spoke passionately about racing and his many experiences.
“His wealth of experience was an invaluable asset to those who had the pleasure and privilege of working alongside him," Philip added.
“I first met Cyril in 1990 when I transferred to Grafton after completing my Cadet Stewardship in Sydney. Cyril provided guidance to those who sought his help and was a diligent colleague with a great work ethic.
"I am mindful of the benefits that the NRRA gained by his role as a steward and mentor and I know that Shane Meaney, a former NRRA CEO and now Racing NSW's Racing Manager, shares a similar view of Cyril."
At the request of Cyril, there will be no funeral service, however, Cyril’s final request will see his ashes spread at his favourite track, Murwillumbah Racecourse.