The Melton man who was a groom for The Queen's racehorses

Former royal groom Geoff Woodward was delighted to be presented to Her Majesty during her visit 26 years ago.
Geoff Woodward reunited with Her Majesty during her 1996 visit to MeltonGeoff Woodward reunited with Her Majesty during her 1996 visit to Melton
Geoff Woodward reunited with Her Majesty during her 1996 visit to Melton

Geoff, who lived at Ferneley Crescent, took out Choir Boy, The Queen’s first Ascot winner in 1953, the year of her Coronation.

He met the monarch at the town’s Corn Cross that day, along with wife, Thelma, and their young grandchildren, Nicola and James.

Geoff told the Melton Times afterwards: “It was very special to meet Her Majesty.

"I worked at Newmarket and I told her how I used to look after her other horses in the two years I was employed there.”

In a later feature in our paper, Geoff talked about the numerous times he had met The Queen while looking after her horses.

She remembered that 1953 winner when the pair were reunited in Melton for her official visit.

Geoff retained strong memories of the day Choir Boy came home in first place at Ascot.

"She was over the moon, delighted with the win,” he recalled.

Geoff came to Melton when he was called up for National Service in 1947 and posted to the Vet Camp with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

On his meeting with Her Majesty in 1996, he explained: “I put a photo in the top of my suit pocket of one of the horses I had ridden for her, I thought that would get us chatting if the conversation dried up.”

His daughter shared her treasured photo of the meeting with us, commenting ‘it was a proud moment for my dad’.