A COUPLE who have clocked up 80 years service between them at Scotland’s oldest racecourse will present flowers to the Queen when she visits today.
Racing at Musselburgh dates back to 1816 and the Queen will attend a special bicentenary celebration day alongside the Duke of Edinburgh.
Racecourse caretaker Adam Nish has been employed at the East Lothian track for nearly all of his working life.
He started work 50 years ago as an apprentice joiner. Wife Elaine has worked for 30 years in a number of roles and is now part of the Links Pavilion reception team on race days.
Adam joined the racecourse as a 15-year-old apprentice joiner but even before that –aged just 12 – he would head out from the family home in nearby Goose Green to help stable staff with odd jobs.
Now their son, Graeme, is regularly seen around the course as the main contractor for joinery services.
Adam has met all the top jockeys, including nine-times Derby winner Lester Piggott, Grand National winner Graham Lee and Dougie Costello, who rode Quiet Reflection to victory in last week’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
He remembers horses being walked from the former railway station and along the River Esk to the racecourse and recalls that former Celtic and Scotland manager Jock Stein was a regular visitor.
Adam said: “The changes over the last 50 years are huge but it has been a great place to work and I’ve enjoyed every minute. Anyone who came racing even 10 or 15 years ago would not recognise the place now and I am delighted to be part of a great team working hard to always improve the racecourse.
“We are both honoured to be meeting the Queen and this time I can’t duck out of it. When she last visited Musselburgh in 1995 I was included in the party who were to meet her but I kept out of the way, however, this time there is no hiding place.
“Elaine and I are both really looking forward to a very special day and being part of the racecourse’s history.”
Musselburgh Racecourse chief executive Bill Farnsworth said there was only one choice when it came to nominating someone to make the presentation.
He said: “Adam has lived and breathed Musselburgh Racecourse all his working life and supported by Elaine they are a great asset to the team.
“A lot of the unseen work that goes on behind the scenes, but is vital to making each raceday a success, is down to Adam and his colleagues.”