Night of racing with Carers Trust and the Princess Royal

The Oxford Times

Hotfoot from the joys of Derbyshire, I was off on Monday for an evening at the races in Windsor and a meeting with a member of the town’s most famous resident family, the Princess Royal.

The introduction was supplied by my old friend Francis Rockcliff, an Oxford-based jazz and blues pianist who specialises in television and film soundtracks.

As a consequence of a meeting a couple of years ago at an event in Cirencester, Francis became a supporter of Carers Trust, which the Princess Royal serves as president. As a consequence, he volunteered to write a fundraising song for the charity.

Could You Be My Friend was given its first performance on Monday by his co-writers Bob Heath (vocals and guitar) and James Reader (keyboards). This tuneful and very catchy number is intended for commercial release to boost Carers Trust coffers.

The song aired to general approval, including that of the princess, during a charity evening at the races hosted by Royal Windsor Racecourse and sponsored by the Reuben Foundation.

Later there was a charity auction in which guests competed to buy one-off attractions including a Caribbean holiday, dinner at the Ritz with Michael Ball and eye surgery at the London Vision Clinic.

This was my first visit to the racecourse, which holds meetings every Monday — the perfect way to brighten a day generally considered dull. I was particularly pleased to find I could get there by river (after a train ride from Oxford). There was even a bar on the boat.