Ladies Day at Royal Ascot is a very special occasion, and a visit there is guaranteed to be a joyous and fulfilling event. When you combine this with the organisational abilities of Stanley Oldfield and David Ogden from the Wigan Group, then the trip is destined to be a cracker!
A coach full of racegoers, including among others, Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and his wife Maureen, with Assistant Provincial Grand Master Tony Bent and his wife Lynda, set off from Bryn Masonic Hall early on a Wednesday morning and travelled to the beautiful town of Windsor for an afternoon’s sightseeing, shopping, picnic by the river and perhaps a liquid refreshment or two. Refreshments were provided en-route by David’s wife Joan and daughters Carole and Andrea, who were to later astound everyone with their catering at Ascot.
Then it was off to the temporary home for the next few nights, the Mercure Thames Hotel, sat right on the river with panoramic views, and more importantly, not too far away from Ascot Racecourse. After dinner it was a pleasure to sit on the terrace overlooking the river, enjoying refreshment, good company and the fine and warm, untypical English weather.
Thursday was the big day, and after breakfast the ladies turned up in their finery with a splendid collection of hats and fascinators, with their partners appropriately suited and booted for the Queen Anne enclosure they were destined for.
Fate had dealt a kind blow, as the soaring temperatures of Wednesday has recessed and although still fine, it was a little cooler. Upon an early mid-morning arrival at Ascot, the race-goers were sent off to explore for an hour whilst David and his team set up gazebos, chairs and a fantastic buffet on the lawn at the front of the coach. Seafood and salmon, delicate hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches and yes of course, being from Wigan, pies! All washed down with Champagne and wine.
Off to the races, and the pleasure of cheering the royal party as Her Majesty passed by in that wonderful tradition. Fortunes with the bookmakers were varied, some very lucky, and some not quite so lucky, but everyone enjoyed the great racing on offer. They then enjoyed that other Ascot tradition, by gathering around the bandstand and joining in the rousing sing-along in an electrified atmosphere. All over, it was back to the hotel for a late dinner, and relaxing with a few drinks again by the river to reflect on a special day.
Friday saw an early start and a trip to Hampton Court, and the group had time to soak up the culture and take a trip on the river, before heading to a hotel in Stafford for a three-course meal before heading back to Bryn.
A right royal do! Not only did the travellers share a day with Her Majesty, but were treated like royalty throughout.