Denise Priest, whose son Terry Priest is one of the northern coalfields area's leading trainers, has passed away.

Family friend John Edwards described Denise as "the backbone'' of the Priest family's success with greyhounds.

"I am at their place regularly checking dogs over for injuries on their behalf and Denise had always been up at the crack of dawn,'' Edwards said.

"It was an all-day job for her because by the time she had all the dogs fed and cared for it was just about time to start all over again.''

Among the good greyhounds the Priests have raced recently include former Maitland record holder Old Spice, a winner of 16 races, Miss Huxtable (eight wins), Sull's Flame (seven wins) and Wild Miss Judy, whose 10 wins include success at Wentworth Park on May 26.

Denise Priest is survived by son Terry, his wife Stacey, their daughter and two sons, along with Terry's sisters Deb and Donna.