HORSE racing fan Graham Baskott was given a day to remember when he received a surprise gift of a visit to top trainer Charlie Mann to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Mr Baskott from Bulkington, near Devizes, received the gift from Red Letter Days as part of its #NoMoreSlippers campaign after they were contacted by his daughter Clare.

He went to Mr Mann’s National Hunt stables at Lambourn on November 27. They had breakfast together before going up to the gallops to watch the horses being put through their paces and then his day finished with a tour of the yard.

He had the chance to ask questions he had been storing up since he was young.

Mr Baskott said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Red Letter Days for the day they put on for me. It was most enjoyable and I’d like to do the same again some time. I had the most enjoyable morning and thoroughly enjoyed everything I saw.

“It’s nice because it’s my 80th birthday coming up, and it was nice to come round and see the workings of the stable. Charlie Mann and his wife put on a lovely show. I’m so happy about it all. Over the moon.”

Mr Baskott has had a passion for horse racing since he was aged 12 and passed his love of horses on to his family.

He worked as a progress chaser at Rolls Royce before retiring, and spent years saving up to enable his children to learn how to ride. His passion for horses quickly spread through his family. He led his two-year-old grandson on his first pony ride, and acted as the groom for his granddaughter at her first show-jumping competition.

Clare said: “Dad’s friend’s Dad was a bookie’s runner, and they’d put on bets with him. Their bets were locked in the old-style ‘clock bag’ and his friend’s Dad would run them around the bookie’s office.”