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She was greeted by typically English weather during a royal visit to Singletons Dairy, Longridge, in June 2008.  Tilly remembers: "It was pouring down, it heaved it down.  I even had my hair done and I needn't have bothered.  I looked like a Viking fishwife before she arrived"

Wearing a lilac suit and hat, the monarch met many of the dairy's 80 workers who had gathered in the canteen waiting for a glimpse or a quick chat with the Queen, along with guests, suppliers and customers. 

Tilly, whose family has been making cheese since 1934, said: "She went right around and spoke to nearly everybody, and asked them what they did.  We spent £6,000 on paint, the Queen must think the entire world smells of paint."  Tilly remembers lots of laughs during the visit, including when Her Majesty was presented to cheese binder Bob Wooller.  She said: "He could hardly bind the cheese, and he has been doing it forever.  He could hardly get the strings to tie, he was so overawed."  When asked by the Queen, one supplier could not remember how many sheep he had, and she was told by another visitor that the machines needed fixing.  Tilly remembers: "I said to him in my best Queen's English, dripping with sarcasm, 'thanks for that', and she burst out laughing.  ”I had the privilege of hearing every single conversation she had with everyone.  "It was so lovely because she was genuinely interested and very warm, but still people who have been doing their jobs for a long, long time fell to pieces in front of her."

Tilly's daughter Olivia and her nieces Jessica and Becky Riding presented Her Majesty with a basket of cheese, flowers and silverware.  She said: "My mum Glenys Riding gave a small speech in honour of her visit.  "At the end, she said: 'And now, we are going to have a right good do' in broad Lancashire, and the Queen burst out laughing again."  

Tilly, managing director of the firm, was also left impressed by the Queen's energy, who was 82 at the time.  She said: "She arrived in Preston that morning at 9am, beautifully coiffured.  She came for an hour and a quarter and really worked hard.  There was never a dull moment.  "I could hardly keep up with her in the factory.  I was wearing heels for once, I was tottering after her.  "It was possibly the very best day of this company's history.  "I knew that she was a warm person, but I had no idea she had such humour in her and at such as basic level, a really honest down-to-earth human being.  "Her smiles were totally genuine.  "We do employ a number of Polish people, and they were over-awed, as everyone was, but they couldn’t get over it.  They thought it was marvellous.  "It was an absolutely wonderful day.  It went so fast.  The buzz lasted a long time."


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