RSPCA Inspector Geoff Edmond said memories of a Royal Garden Party he has just attended at Buckingham Palace, hosted by The Queen, will stay with him forever.
The Palace sent Geoff, from Scarborough, an invitation to the prestigious event after receiving a nomination recognising his outstanding services to animal welfare and all aspects of wildlife.
Geoff said: “I felt very humbled and honoured to have been invited to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party and was made to feel very welcome.
“The Queen, accompanied by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and several other members of the Royal family, came onto the steps of the palace and then circulated among the crowds.
“The military bands were playing and it was very moving when the national anthem played.
“We got to walk through the Palace to reach the beautiful gardens, the sun was out, ice-cream and tea were served and the atmosphere was very friendly.
“I didn’t know what to expect but without doubt the experience was magical.
“It was a real privilege to attend and an amazing day.
“These special memories will be with me forever.”
Geoff’s nomination was supported by his colleague, RSPCA Superintendent Matt Sacks.
Matt said: “Throughout Geoff’s 27 years of service as an RSPCA Inspector and most recently as our National Wildlife Co-ordinator, he has been a committed and outstanding officer, particularly in the highly specialised area of wildlife crime investigation, and wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release.
“It is almost impossible to capture the full breadth of Geoff’s achievements due to his relentless commitment, tireless enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge.
“The invitation to the Royal Garden Party was thoroughly deserved in recognition of his expertise, knowledge and passion for animal welfare and all aspects of wildlife.”
Tackling rural and wildlife crime has been a priority for Geoff.
Working collaboratively with other agencies such as North Yorkshire Police and other forces across England and Wales, is helping to address a range of animal welfare issues, from fly grazing of horses and the impact of litter on the environment, to anti-social behaviour issues impacting on domestic animals and wildlife.
Geoff’s involvement with the design and delivery of enhanced training for seal rescue and rehabilitation is enhancing how seal casualties are managed.
Contingency planning for large-scale pollution incidents and developing standardised training courses to help wildlife affected by oil pollution is another important area in which Geoff has played a pivotal role.