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Top hat and tales from Royal Ascot

Last Friday, the well dressed crowds gathered for Day Four of Royal Ascot and unofficial Armed Forces Day, which proudly supports the three leading military charities. In this guest blog, Brooke Harrison–Davies tells us all about the Fund's Day at the Races!

Brooke and Samantha (right) wearing Angela Bruce Millinery

When we arrived at Ascot we were led straight to the dedicated Armed Forces Lounge that played host to all personnel and their guests. Following a quick brief, we popped on our Angela Bruce Millinery hats, made specifically for the Fund to wear at Royal Ascot. Samantha donned a Spitfire headpiece, whilst mine featured three model Red Arrows with intricately beaded plumes of smoke.

The gates opened at 10:30 and the crowds began to arrive, sporting fabulous frocks and heavenly headpieces. From feathers to flowers and everything in between the racegoers filled the course with style and elegance as the clouds parted and the sun made its first appearance of the day. Famous faces were also out in abundance, Dominic West, Gok Wan and Anna Friel to name a few.

The military personnel dispersed and soon attracted attention from the public and the paparazzi! Gok Wan jumped at the chance for a photo with some boys in blue and proudly held the Armed Forces flag for the flashing cameras. The Angela Bruce Millinery hats also caused quite a stir amongst photographers, who battled it out for the perfect shot of her wonderful creations!

This is the fourth year that the generous Trustees of Ascot Racecourse have welcomed and supported the three military charities that provide incredible support for military personnel, veterans, and family members. Creating awareness amongst the public and offering great exposure on the day is invaluable to the charities, and has raised more than £70,000 in the past three years.

This year, 80 volunteers from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, and Royal Air Force served as stewards for the day and collected donations on behalf of The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, ABF The Soldiers' Charity, and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.  In addition to marking the Friday as unofficial Armed Forces Day, Royal Ascot also offers discounted ticket rates for military personnel.

As Her Majesty The Queen's carriage entered the Parade ring, the jockeys saddled up, bets were placed and the races began! The grandstand overflowed with excited onlookers as they cheered on their horses tearing up the turf. The military personnel, dressed in full uniform, took to the concourse with their collecting buckets and needless to say, the racegoers needed no encouragement.

It was a brilliant day and we are so thankful for the generosity of Royal Ascot, racegoers, and the military personnel who took a day's leave to collect on behalf of the charities.

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