From humble beginnings as a stable-hand more than 40 years ago, a Thetford stallion keeper has made it to the final three in a prestigious national equestrian competition.
Ron Lott, 59, was nominated for the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards 2015 by colleagues at the Shadwell Estate, where he has worked for 35 years at the Nunnery Stud.
Speaking of his nomination, Ron said: “I’m ecstatic. I’ve worked with horses all my life, so this means a lot to me.
“When I found out I was in the final three I was completely speechless!”
He said a ‘chance meeting’ with jockey Tony Grantham at a London hospital when he was just 14 was the only reason he entered the profession.
“Tony offered me a job while I was still at school, but my tutor said if I wanted to go, I could,” Ron said.
“I’ve loved it ever since. He taught me everything I know and I couldn’t wish to work with a better gentleman.
“I want to win this award for Tony. Without him giving me a job, I never would have got into anything like this.”
Originally from Vauxhall, South London, Ron started out as a stable-hand but was working with stallions by the age of 21, after requesting the chance from his employer.
“Being a young lad I was a bit cocky, but I managed it and have been with stallions ever since,” he said.
“I just love it, but it is the kind of job you really have to want to do.
“The best part is being one-on-one with the stallions. You have got to know them and their temperament. You have a responsibility to them.”
A father of two and grandfather of five, Ron believes he is the longest serving member of staff at the stud, having been first employed by Sir John Musker and kept on after it was bought by Sheikh Hamdan.
“It is like a family here, the door is always open and people are always willing to talk and listen” he said.
“It’s a really nice working environment.”
Ron lives in Thetford with his wife, Joyce, and has brought his family up around the estate. His son Daniel, 35, and daughter Sarah, 33, have both worked at the stud.
“My biggest achievement is my kids. I’m chuffed because they have carried on in my footsteps,” he said.
Ron will find out his fate in the awards at a ceremony in Knightsbridge on February 23.