ONE of the proudest moments in the life of a shepherd from west Dorset was meeting the Queen.

Sheep breeder John Randall of Litton Cheney who had twin passions - for sheep and heavy horses - met the Queen in February 1981 due to his association with The Ram Brewery, part of Young’s Brewery in Wandsworth.

Because the brewery's mascot was a Dorset Horn ram called Ramrod, who had to be trimmed several times a year to keep him looking good, Mr Randall would visit the brewery regularly.

And when the Queen visited the brewery in 1981 to mark its 150th anniversary, Mr Randall was invited to meet her.

Following the visit the Queen's Private Secretary sent a letter of thanks in which director John Young was praised for his expertise showing the Queen around and especially showing her the stables for the dray horses, which gave the visit 'additional interest', the Queen's secretary Bill Heseltine wrote.

He added: "It was a real pleasure for the Queen to visit an establishment which has such an excellent feeling about it.

"It is obvious that you enjoy equally good relationships outside the gates with the Wandsworth community.

"The splendid horses must make a great contribution to this relationship. Her Majesty hopes that the brewery will go forward another to another equally successful 150 years and sends her warm thanks."

Over the years John met most of the Royal Family, meeting the Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales many times. He served on the Royal Smithfield Show committee with the Princess Royal as President.

Dorset Down Sheep were Mr Randall's overriding passion and over the years he won countless prizes.

Mr Randall wrote two books and made a video on how to show sheep and how to trim their feet. He appeared on television including with Chris Evans on Zig and Zag.

He died in 2017 aged 92 and the church in Litton Cheney was full to overflowing with mourners for his funeral.