A TRIO of Hawick men was given access all areas at Ascot last weekend when they joined the country’s elite in the Royal Enclosure.
Elliot Jack, Steven Potts and Alistair Taylor rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous at the prestigious racecourse, having been lucky enough to gain exclusive Royal Enclosure badges – access to the private area is so strict that even a famous Premier League footballer was denied entry while they were there.
But having gained an invite through Elliot’s friendship with existing member John Mills, who lives near Manchester – the pair and their families having become firm friends since meeting on holiday several years ago – the group enjoyed a special weekend .
Local bus driver Elliot told the Hawick News: “It was an unbelievable experience, just brilliant. We were allowed in every area and could walk round the tented village – we were even able to look through a window and see all the Queen’s guests dining.”
And highlighting the Royal Enclosure’s high security measures, which included the three Hawick men undergoing police checks several months ago, Elliot commented: “Even Manchester United and England player Michael Owen, who had a horse racing, wasn’t allowed in because he didn’t have a badge.”
Entry to the enclosure is permitted via sponsorship from an existing badgeholder who has attended four years previous. The stipulated dress code is just as stringent.
For women, off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and miniskirts are considered unsuitable. Midriffs must be covered and trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and colour.
Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat. But the Hawick contingent chose to wear formal full Scottish dress, complete with hats – which Elliot says had to be worn at all times.
He commented: “The only time we were allowed to take our hats off was when the Queen entered the course, but apart from that you had to wear hats at all times and if you took it off, someone would come and tell you to put it back on.”
Having stayed near Heathrow for the weekend, and enjoyed all the trappings of Royal Ascot, as well as a night out in Windsor, Elliot added: “It was a truly memorable weekend we’ll never forget, and we’ve arranged for a group of John’s friends from Manchester to come up to Hawick for a game of golf over the Vertish in September.”