Former RCA Chief Executive Colonel John Cameron-Hayes dies

Colonel John Cameron-Hayes, former secretary and chief executive of the Racecourse Association, has died at the age of 91.

Colonel John Cameron-Hayes takes part in the Badminton 3-day event in 1952.

Colonel John Cameron-Hayes joined the RCA in October 1972 and during his time there oversaw the move from Portman Square to Ascot. He left the RCA in 1989 after 17 years working alongside the Chairman at the time, Air Commodore ‘Brookie’ Brooks.

He had been in the military for 28 years prior to his time at the RCA having been commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1944, straight from school. In 1950 he joined the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the ceremonial saluting battery in St John’s Wood. While he was at the Troop he competed at Badminton and in point to points.

He is believed to have been in charge of the escort which took the body of the king from Sandringham to the lying-in-state in St George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1952, for which service he was awarded an MVO (Member of the Royal Victorian Order).

After flying training he was posted as a Forward Observation Officer and later commanded B Battery RHA in Germany. Later he commanded a Gunner Field Regiment in Germany before leaving the Army to join the RCA, first at Portman Square and then in Ascot.

At the time of the Falklands War in 1982, Cameron-Hayes arranged for some racecourse equipment –  believed to be starting stalls – to be shipped to the island’s racecourse.

RCA communications executive Will Aitkenhead said: “We were very sad to hear the news of Colonel John Cameron-Hayes’s death. Following his time in the army he played a very important role in the history and development of the RCA and was a much respected leader in the sport. We would like to offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in racing.”

A memorial service is to be held at 11am on April 7 at St Mary’s Church, Chilton Foliat, near Hungerford. No flowers but donations in memory of John may be made to the Injured Jockeys Fund c/o R.C. Smallbone Funeral Directors, 37 Pound Street, Newbury, RG14 6AE.