Royal recognition again for family firm

The only Borders company to hold a Royal Warrant from the Queen has had it extended for four years.

Eric Gillie, specialist horse transporters based near Kelso, were successful in gaining the Royal Warrant in 2010, and this year passed the stringent criteria to have it extended.

Michael Gillie told The Southern: “It is recognition of our hard work over the years. It is a stamp of approval and gives people a lot of confidence when they give us their horses to transport.”

Speaking about the initial award of the warrant, Michael said: “We had done quite a lot of work with the Queen’s own personal riding horses, and a lady on one of her estates approached us and said we should apply for a Royal Warrant.

“We wrote to the Royal Warrant Holders Association and then had to dig out invoices and receipts to confirm we had worked for them for a number of years.

“After we submitted it we had to do interviews and had to get people from the Royal households to vouch for us. It took between six and eight months from start to finish.”

Michael added that to get the extension required an extensive review too, which even looked at where the company sources it supplies.

“They look back at everything again,” he said. “It was almost like a re-application, and they went to the various studs and spoke to the people involved with the Royals’ horses and asked them about our work, and I think it will be someone like Terry Pendry, the right hand man to the Queen in terms of horses, that gave them the nod.

“We have worked for the Royal family for the last ten years continuously, but have done work for them for the best part of 18 years.

“We always did jobs for them - moving ponies and even bikes to Balmoral for the Queen’s grandchildren, and when the Queen established a stud at Balmoral that was when it really took off and we started moving horses between the households and to shows.”

The Queen’s love of her horses has meant she has even been there to see them unloaded from the horseboxes.

The team at Eric Gillie are proud to work for the Queen, but Michael added that all their customers, and their horses, are treated in exactly the same way.