Racing industry mourns the loss of a ‘beautiful person’

EVEN in racing, where feelings continually run the gamut of highs and lows, it has been a week of rare emotion.

Tim Bell's fatal fall from a high-rise building in Singapore struck a blow right into the heart of everyone connected with racing. Coming as it did just hours after the euphoria surrounding Michelle Payne's historic ride in the Melbourne Cup only made the feeling of devastation more extreme.

It also put the small stuff in perspective.

In those moments of grief nobody cared any more about who should "get stuffed" or not. The racing press, and even those outside the industry, had latched onto that particular part of Payne's post-race comments and were intent on riding that bandwagon as far as they could.

Granted Payne had raised a legitimate issue regarding the role of female riders with her bold response to those who doubted their ability, but the sickening news of Tim Bell's fate brought home the reality that often what we fight about pales in importance when it comes to life and death issues.

Bell was gone at the age of 22 and his colleagues were struggling to come to terms with the finality of it all.

Through all of the sadness in the days that followed, a pattern began to emerge from the comments made by people at the track or via social media.

While Bell's talent and achievements in his chosen profession, at which he worked with the focused intent of becoming the best in the business, were duly acknowledged or taken as a given by those who knew him well, the theme of the tributes soon became quite clear.

They related to Tim Bell, the man ... not to what he had done, but to who he was as a person and how he played a positive part in the lives of so many of those around him, both at work and at play.

Therein lies the true measure of the man.

That, coming from his peers is the biggest tribute of all.

As Queensland Jockey of the Year Damian Browne, writing on stated, "Tim was basically the full package. He pretty much had it all but he did stay grounded. He knew his roots and where he came from. He was very close to his family.

"I don't think Tim would have had an enemy anywhere.

"He was one of those people that, even if you weren't in a happy mood yourself ... once you talk to him for a couple of minutes he would put you in a good mood and put a smile on your face. He was just a beautiful person."

Our hearts go out to the Bell family.

Tim's mother and father were regulars at the track providing quiet, understated yet unequivocal support for their son.

Now it is time for all of us to show the same support for them and to let them know how proud they can be of their son.

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