One of York’s top races will be run in memory of an inspirational city retailer this weekend.

Cathy Paver died earlier this year. The founder of York-based Pavers, now a hugely-successful global footwear retailer, was also a passionate horsewoman.

The Catherine Kinloch Paver Memorial Macmillan Charity Stakes is the richest handicap for three-year-olds in Europe. It will be held on Saturday (June 17) and televised on ITV4.

It forms part of the Macmillan Charity Raceday, the charity’s biggest single fund-raising event of the year.

‘Cathy loved racing’

Cathy Paver and friends

Beth Morgan-Henderson, head of brand and marketing at Pavers and a friend of Cathy’s, said: “Cathy loved racing and owned racehorses and this is a very appropriate way of remembering her and honouring her legacy in her home city.”

She said it was made more relevant because the race is part of the day raising money for Macmillan cancer support, and Cathy died of the disease.

Beth added:

We all miss Cathy so much at Pavers, but we will be celebrating her life in style on June 17.

We are looking forward to an unforgettable day, which I know she would have loved.

Some of the money raised on the day will go to York Against Cancer, our other charity partner.

Kinloch Pride, the horse owned by Cathy with her son Graham, will be running in another race on the same day.

Started with £200

Pavers in Piccadilly, York. Photograph © Google Street View

Cathy Paver started Pavers in 1971 with a £200 loan – and left behind an international organisation with 160 shops across three continents.

Born in May 1928 Cathy, as she was known, was one of five children brought up in a working class area of Kirkcaldy, in Fife, Scotland.

She moved to York in 1943 to find work when her parents could no longer afford for her to continue in senior school and her first job was helping wounded soldiers in the city’s military hospital.

Her first retail job was at Boots, and it was around this time she met and married her husband of 51 years, Michael Paver, who was also a great lover and supporter of horse-racing in Yorkshire.

After a period selling from people’s living rooms and pioneering out of town retailing the company opened its first high street shop, in Scarborough, in 1982.

Others in York, Hull and Newcastle quickly followed – and the rest is history.