08.04.10 - THE GRAND NATIONAL
A ROYLE OPENING FOR LIVERPOOL DAY AT THE JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL
TV star Ricky Tomlinson ditched his trademark string vest for jockey silks today as he officially opened this year’s John Smith’s Grand National festival.
The Liverpudlian actor, famed for his role in sitcom The Royle Family, donned the jockey suit as he got the prestigious three-day meeting underway on Thursday 8 April, which has this year been renamed Liverpool Day.
Former Brookside actor Ricky raised the curtain on a busy day of music, fashion, comedy and sport, to complement the first day of racing at the world-famous course.
He said: “When I was growing up the Grand National was always a big event in our house and my Mum and Dad always had a flutter.
“I wouldn’t claim to be a huge racing fan but I always look out for the Grand National because it takes place in my home city.
“I’m so pleased the people at Aintree have decided to officially celebrate Liverpool as part of the Grand National festival this year.
“I’m obviously biased but I do think that part of the secret of its success is the people of the city, who have always taken this race meeting to their hearts.”
Headline acts on Liverpool Day included former Cast and The La's front man, John Power, highly acclaimed tribute group, The Bootleg Beatles and up-and-coming city band, 6ix Toys.
Liverpool Sound City also showcased young bands in the pavilion throughout the day including The Maybes, Sound of Guns, The Vanities, The Red Deltas and The Liberty Vessels.
The Liverpool Ski band, an eclectic combination of funk and brass, also provided entertainment.
Liverpool Day wouldn’t be complete without celebrating Liverpool’s favourite sons with special exhibitions, including The Beatles Story’s waxworks, originally from Madame Tussauds, on display and the opportunity for racegoers to show off their talents in a music competition.
HEADING OFF TO THE RACES
A spectacular hat which has been specially commissioned for this year’s John Smith’s Grand National festival was unveiled today.
The hat, which was designed and made by Rufford-based milliner Jean Ellis, is in celebration of Liverpool and features the city’s famous skyline along with a huge brim depicting the River Mersey.
The hat is made up of around 5 metres of material including white habotai silk; sky blue silk crepe backed satin; buckram and sinamey.
Three metres of specialist millinery wire and buckram is used for the foundation of the hat and sinamey has been used to create the iconic Liverpool buildings which sit atop the River Mersey across the wide brimmed hat.
Jean, who comes from Gateacre, said: “Over the years I have created many hats specifically for the races but this one is extra special because I am originally from Liverpool.
“I have been commissioned before to make, so-called novelty hats, but what myself and the team at Aintree Racecourse are hoping to do with the Liverpool Day hat is to create something truly elegant.
“We wanted a stylish celebration of the city of Liverpool and the Grand National and I hope I’ve created something fitting for the occasion."