Huge evening of greyhound action tonight at Hove
Lena Birch is Stadium Manager at Hove Greyhound Stadium. The track host a number of brilliant competitions throughout the year and they have a gala evening of action to enjoy on Saturday evening with the £20,000 Premier Greyhound Racing Regency Final and the £10,000 Hove Sussex Cup Final forming the apex of a superb night of action.
We caught up with Lena to discuss her time in the sport, what her role at Hove entails and a look ahead to Saturday’s action
Birch said: It’s very special to host two prestigious finals on the same night. The Sussex Cup is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. Every final at Hove is special for us. The prize money this time around is really good and the quality of the dogs are amazing, but let’s hope it’s a good night. I’m going to be biased and hope for a Hove winner.
"I’ve been working for Entain for around 11 years and prior to that I had been working in the security industry for five years at the greyhound stadium. I caught a love for the sport, I’m a people person and customer focused. When I worked for the security company, they said they had a gig at Hove greyhound stadium and wanted me to do the security. They felt it was an ideal spot to go and I feel in love with Hove and am still there to this day.
"We are just finalising the kennel upgrades and then we are going to look at the track wall and general refurbishment downstairs and on the outbuildings. I have had to wait forever and a day for new tables, so I won’t put them out until I get the new chairs. All of the refurbishment downstairs has been completed with the toilet upgrades.
"We have had four different toilet upgrades and we have had a fresh coat of paint, new stairs and the bar has been stripped out. Everything looks really fresh and it is just the nice new tables and chairs that are coming in. I’m hoping the tables arrive before this weekend, but it’s no guarantee as they’ve been shipped from China! You want everything to look nice and the refurbishment was finished a while ago. All the chairs and table palates are done, it’s just the tabletops that we are waiting on.
"We’ve got a good friendship with the local community. We always try and showcase the benefits the sport has to offer. It is also about educating people about the welfare of greyhounds and how much the sport makes sure greyhounds are looked after following their retirement.
"With the local community, they hold their annual AGM meetings, we have the NHS who are fully supportive and hold daily conferences and training sessions at our facilities which is really nice. It’s important to keep upgrading the facilities so we are making changes and making everything nice to sustain the future of the track as well.
"It’s always such a great atmosphere. The staff are so friendly and welcoming. When you see someone who has a smile on their face doing their job, it makes the customers happy as they feel comfortable. Greyhound racing is also exciting and the atmosphere on a bit Saturday night is always fantastic as all eyes are focused on the track when the racing is on. It’s a lovely upbeat atmosphere."