Chel­tenham Race­course

Rac­ing Re­mem­bers

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - WORDS: Tracy Spiers www.chel­tenham.co.uk

Chel­tenham Race­course will be mark­ing the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice with a mov­ing trib­ute to both horse and sol­dier on Novem­ber 18.

The Novem­ber Meet­ing Sun­day is the only Sun­day in the race­course’s rac­ing calendar and thanks to Glouces­ter­shire & Rac­ing Re­mem­ber, it will have ex­tra spe­cial mean­ing this year.

The Lieu­tenancy of Glouces­ter­shire and the race­course are com­bin­ing their en­er­gies to of­fer a fit­ting day of remembrance. As well as qual­ity rac­ing, spec­ta­tors will see ex­cit­ing ac­tion in the skies above as WW1 air­craft carry out a demon­stra­tion of aerial com­bat.

Ac­com­pa­nied by a mil­i­tary band, a party of Glosters in First World War uni­forms will pa­rade from the Race­course Sta­tion up the race­course while a mounted con­tin­gent of the Royal Glouces­ter­shire Hus­sars will lead an act of remembrance in the pa­rade ring.

“I feel very ex­cited about the whole event. I am ex­tremely grate­ful to the race­course for al­low­ing us to do it and our two spon­sors, St James’s Place and Spi­rax Sarco to en­able it to take place,” said Lord de Mauley, TD from Glouces­ter­shire & Rac­ing Re­mem­ber.

“It helps us all re­mem­ber the tremen­dous con­tri­bu­tion that the men, the horses and the race­course played dur­ing the First World War. It will be a very mov­ing oc­ca­sion and a fit­ting trib­ute. I am look­ing for­ward to see­ing all the faces as the aerial com­bat dis­play takes place. There will some very mov­ing mo­ments.”

With rac­ing sus­pended dur­ing war years, the race­course was used as a Vol­un­tary Aid De­tach­ment Hos­pi­tal where vol­un­teer nurses helped over 3,000 men gassed and wounded in the con­flict, to slowly re­build their lives.

Thou­sands of horses were gath­ered up from the county. They were es­sen­tial for ar­tillery, trans­port, and sup­ply and skill­fully man­aged by many Glouces­ter­shire peo­ple from aris­to­crats to Ro­many gyp­sies. The world of rac­ing also made a huge con­tri­bu­tion, with many of the jock­eys, train­ers, lads and race­course staff in­volved in the war ef­forts.

Race­course gates will open early to al­low race go­ers to see the Glosters ar­rive by train at 11am. Ve­hi­cles and equip­ment from the bat­tle­field and home front will be on dis­play and or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in telling the story of the con­flict through the cen­te­nary will be ex­hibit­ing their work in the Cen­taur. Dis­plays will in­clude the his­tory of ca­su­alty man­age­ment, medals, uni­forms and equip­ment, Glouces­ter­shire’s war po­ets, the con­tri­bu­tion of rac­ing to the war ef­fort, the birth of the RAF, pho­to­graphs of mu­ni­tions and air­craft fac­to­ries.

Chel­tenham Race­course is invit­ing the pub­lic to dress in the man­ner of 1918 on the day to add to the at­mos­phere of the oc­ca­sion.

The Fa­mous Fam­ily Fun area will also en­ter­tain younger race­go­ers. Star of the show is Peppa Pig but Show­time Shane will also per­form and there is op­por­tu­nity to take part in Sam’s Funky Fun horse hop­per races, make a rosette and watch the tal­ented Twisto­pher and Twistina cre­ate amaz­ing bal­loon mod­els. All the en­ter­tain­ment is free and lo­cated in the Tented Vil­lage. Free mem­ber­ship to join Ju­nior Jumpers is avail­able on the day. Un­der 18s en­try is free of charge, when at­tend­ing with a full pay­ing adult.

Aerial com­bat dis­play The Glosters

LEFT: The race­course was used as a Vol­un­tary Aid De­tach­ment Hos­pi­tal where vol­un­teer nurses helped over 3,000 men gassed and wounded in the con­flict

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