Royal honour for Nick

The former chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), who grew up in Berwick, has been recognised in the New Year's Honours list.

By Andrew Coulson
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 5:54 pm
Nick Rust.
Nick Rust.

Nick Rust has received an OBE for his services to the sport of horse racing. His journey to that role started with a summer job at the Ladbrokes shop in Berwick.

After living in Tweedmouth (Ivinson Road) for a few years as a young child, the family moved to Windsor Crescent and he has many good memories of his time in the area – he moved away at the age of 20.

There was also a summer job at Simpsons Malt, but Nick ended up accepting a full-time job at Ladbrokes.

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The 53-year-old said: “I admit that I was a maverick and I made mistakes along the way, but I had many happy days there and working at Ladbrokes in Berwick taught me a lot about life and helped with my future roles.

“I also enjoyed watching Berwick Rangers and had trials for the club.”

He moved to the Edinburgh area to manage a Ladbrokes shop and progressed to be a trainee area manager at Kelso before being responsible for eight of its betting shops in the Borders.

Nick was then put in charge of the Ayrshire region and his work continued to be noticed by Ladbrokes chiefs as he received a promotion that involved a move to London and was then appointed marketing director when the internet betting industry was starting to emerge.

He married his now late wife Margarita in 1993 and their son Luis was born in 1996.

Nick and the family moved to North Yorkshire, where he still lives today, when he joined the company that became Sky Bet and he then worked at Coral before returning to Ladbrokes to be part of the senior executive team.

This involved working closely with the horse racing industry and he “got the bug” for the sport at a young age when his dad took him to Kelso Racecourse.

So he was happy to accept when he was asked by the BHA to become its chief executive – a role he has been in for the past six years.

He stood down at the end of 2020. This had been planned for some time as his intention to do so was first announced in January 2020.

Nick said: “I feel very proud to receive an OBE, although it’s very hard to feel worthy when the true heroes at the moment are the people providing vital healthcare in these difficult times.

“I decided to accept the award as it gives recognition to the great work of the BHA, including the fantastic effort by everyone involved to keep the sport going since it resumed in June.

“I am now going to enjoy a break before deciding what to do next and in the meantime, I will spend more time in my role as a non-executive director at York Theatre Royal.”