Billionaire Trevor Hemmings changed former employees life with a beautiful gift

Billionaire Trevor Hemmings changed a former employee's life with a beautiful gift.

The Preston North End owner, who died on Monday aged 86, showed exceptional kindness after receiving a letter from Nikki Curwen.

The former groom spent several years looking after one of his top horses Cloudy Dream at the Jefferson family stables in Malton, North Yorkshire.

She prepared him in perfect condition for his two places at the Cheltenham Festival – and a top three finish at Aintree's 2017 Grand National meeting.

But Curwen, 47, was left heartbroken when the popular grey thoroughbred was moved to Donald McCain's stable in October 2018.

Desperately unhappy without her favourite horse by her side, Curwen decided to write to Hemmings to see if they could be reunited one day.

And remarkably in November 2020, the businessman, who had an estimated fortune of £1.025 billion in the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List, phoned Curwen himself to give her the news she hoped for.

"Mr Hemmings said I sounded like a lovely lady and that he was calling to tell me that Cloudy Dream could spend his retirement with me," Curwen said.

"It just meant everything. It had been two years since I last saw Cloudy and I thought about him every single day.

"Without him I was unhappy and felt like a piece of me was missing."

Curwen led Cloudy Dream around the parade ring before he raced into second place behind Altior, one of the best horses of his generation, in the 2017 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

She also watched on with pride as he took third in theRyanair Chase 12 months on.

In 21 races, he scooped over £250,000 in prize money – and was originally retired to live at Hemmings' stables on the Isle Of Man.

"When I heard he was going to live there, I was heartbroken," said Curwen, who left racing after Cloudy Dream's move to McCain.

"I thought my last chance was to write to Mr Hemmings, via his racing manager Mick Meagher.

"The fact he rang me personally was amazing."

Cloudy Dream was due to live out his days with Hemmings' other favourites, including Grand National heroes Ballabriggs and Hedgehunter.

TV footage released this week lovingly showed him with them in front of the cameras.

Since arriving at Curwen's yard near Malton, last December, Cloudy Dream has recovered from a couple of injury setbacks to go hacking and on fun rides with her.

His chief stablemate is another retired racehorse named Bapak Asmara.

"I will be forever grateful to Mr Hemmings," said Curwen, who now works for the Rainbow Equine Hospital.

"Racing needs more people like him. He really understood the relationship between horse and groom.

" Getting a horse back wouldn't seem like a lot to some people, but for me Mr Hemmings' act of kindness changed my life."

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