The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall finished their three-day tour of Devon and Cornwall with visits in Cullompton, Sidmouth and Simonsbath.
His Royal Highness started the day with a visit to the headquarters of Gregory Distribution Ltd to celebrate the company’s centenary year. The Duke met longstanding employees, local customers and Duchy of Cornwall farmers who use the company to transport their produce.
His Royal Highness also visited the company’s new heritage centre to view historic vehicles, and to learn about the organisations’ founding and history.
The Duchess of Cornwall, who celebrated her 72nd birthday on Their Royal Highness’ final day of Devon and Cornwall Week, visited The Donkey Sanctuary to celebrate the charity’s 50th anniversary.
The Donkey Sanctuary was founded by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen in 1969 and now runs 10 sanctuaries across the UK and Europe, caring for more than 6,000 donkeys and mules.
Her Royal Highness has a longstanding interest in animal welfare and was able to meet volunteers, staff, supporters and a number of resident donkeys. The Duchess also met service users who benefited from the charity’s Donkey Facilitated Learning programme, specifically designed for children and adults with the aim of developing key life skills, including managing emotions, empathy and self-esteem.
Their Royal Highnesses ended the day by attending a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act at a Big Picnic in Exmoor National Park.
Hundreds of free ticket holders came together for a Big Picnic to celebrate the anniversary alongside local food producers, craftspeople and members of community groups. The UK has 15 National Parks which attract over 130 million visitors a year and are worth almost £6bn to the UK economy. The parks were created in 1949 through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.
Their Royal Highnesses started their second day of engagements in Devon and Cornwall with a visit to the Ginsters bakery in Tavistock to celebrate the company’s 50th birthday. Geoffrey Ginster began baking his own pasties in 1968, starting with just 24 pasties a day. The company now produce an average of three million savoury pastries including pasties, slices and sausage rolls each week.
After meeting guests, employees and local businesses who help to supply the ingredients, The Duchess of Cornwall was shown how to make a traditional Cornish pasty by Toby Hill, a baker with Ginsters.
Their Royal Highnesses also visited Tavistock to celebrate the town’s recent restoration to its historic buildings and to attend the local Community Festival of Food and Crafts. The festival brings together artisan producers and celebrates the work of organisations from the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors.
This evening, The Duke and Duchess attended a reception to celebrate the 50th anniversary of His Royal Highness's Chairmanship of the Duchy of Cornwall Prince's Council. Throughout his fifty years of stewardship, The Duke has been actively involved in running the Duchy. His Royal Highness's philosophy is to nurture and improve the estate in order to pass it on to the next generation in a stronger condition. At the reception, Their Royal Highnesses met with former and current tenants of the Duchy of Cornwall, as well as Duchy staff and Prince’s Council members from the South West.
Their Royal Highnesses started their three-day tour of Devon and Cornwall with a visit to Mevagissey Harbour where they were greeted by the Harbour Master and local fishermen, as well as a sea-shanty group. Mevagissey is the second fastest growing port in Cornwall and is unique in the growing number of younger fishermen joining the trade, sustaining new and multi-generational families in the industry.
During the visit, The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall met members of the local coastguard and RNLI and spoke to members of Mevagissey Feast Week and the local museum.
Their Royal Highnesses were also shown how to mend nets by Rod Ingram, 73, a local fisherman, before making their way through the streets of the village to meet visitors and members of the local community.
His Royal Highness, who is President of the National Trust, then travelled to Boscastle to mark the 60th anniversary of Cornwall as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Here, The Duke viewed a hedging demonstration as part of the AONB's Kerdroya project to construct a Cornish-hedged landscape labyrinth.
Meanwhile, Her Royal Highness attended a Big Lunch celebration at the Eden Project, where The Duchess cut a tenth birthday cake to celebrate the initiative's decade of work. The Big Lunch is Eden’s biggest outreach project. Since 2009, The Big Lunch has brought people together with their neighbours for a few hours of community, friendship and fun every June. Her Royal Highness has been Patron of The Big Lunch since 2013.