Jerry Walsh, travelling head lad at Paul Webber’s Mollington stables, near Banbury, was thrilled to receive the National Association of Stable Staff’s special merit award.

Walsh, 59, was handed the prize and a cheque for £5,000 by Flat champion jockey Paul Hanagan at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards 2012 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London on Monday.

Walsh recently completed 30 years’ service for the Webber family, having previously worked for Paul’s late father, John, and before that for Jimmy FitzGerald and Ken Bridgwater.

He said: “Four years ago I was runner-up and I thought that was my trophy and I really treasured it, and now I have this one which is slightly bigger it is amazing.

“To get a prize like that it is an absolute honour.”

Walsh gave much of the credit for his success to the Webbers.

“The Webber family are fantastic,” he added.

“The best thing that happened to me was to go to Cropredy Lawn. It is like having another family.”

During the last three decades, he has transported the Webbers’ horses around Britain and Europe.

“Auntie Dot was an absolute pleasure to be associated with,” he recalled.

“She won 18 races and finished third in a very good National won by Seagram.”

And he also fondly remembers Mweenish’s victory in the 1990 Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.

“I think we were lucky to get home in one piece,” he joked.