Highlighting small family businesses and community volunteering were the key themes of The Prince of Wales’s first ever visit to the historic Northumberland coast in July.
Staying as a guest of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle, The Prince spent Monday 23rd and Tuesday 24th July visiting a number of coastal locations including Warkworth, Amble, Lindisfarne, Bamburgh and Seahouses.
Over the course of his two day visit to the region, The Prince met charity and community volunteers, fishermen, artists, lifeboat crew and RAF personnel as well as visiting a number of family-run businesses including a homemade farmhouse pudding company, a coastal pub and micro-brewery, and a blacksmiths which has been in the same family since the 1920s.
The Prince’s visit began on Monday 23rd July at Alnmouth, where he arrived by Royal Train and was greeted by the Duchess of Northumberland, who is the Lord Lieutenant of the county.
At Warkworth, The Prince visited a care home for the elderly run by the charity Abbeyfield, of which he is Patron. In Amble, His Royal Highness met volunteers and local artists at the Pride of Northumbria Community Shop in Queen Street before going on to meet community groups, young performers and local fisherman in the town’s main square.
Next The Prince met Stephen Lunn, a third generation blacksmith who creates artwork fashioned from steel in the forge first set up by his grandfather in the 1920s. At RAF Boulmer, The Prince viewed a demonstration of the Olympic Games security air support plans which were run from the base.
Before returning to Alnwick Castle, His Royal Highness met Susan Green who set up the award winning “The Proof of the Pudding” company in her own farmhouse kitchen.
On Tuesday 24th July The Prince visited the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, where in 635 AD St. Aidan came from the Scottish island of Iona and founded a monastery. Today Holy Island is a centre of pilgrimage for Christians from all over the world as well as a place of tranquillity and scenic beauty. During his time on the island, The Prince met local residents and visitors and visited the parish church of St Mary’s, the ruins of Lindisfarne priory and the 16th Century castle run by the National Trust, of which The Prince is President.
In Bamburgh His Royal Highness visited the Grace Darling Museum before heading to the beach to meet members of the Marine Conservation Society, of which The Prince is President, and representatives of Bamburgh Castle, who have been conducting a beach litter survey. In the popular resort of Seahouses, The Prince met lifeboat crew, harbour businesses, local artists and other members of the community before visiting the town’s famous Swallowfish smokery and shop, where he met members of staff and local fishermen. At the small 18th Century fishing village of Low Newton by-the-Sea, The Prince met local residents, staff and community representatives during a visit to The Ship Inn and Microbrewery.
Back at Alnwick Castle that evening, The Prince, who is Patron of the Alnwick Castle Gardens Restoration Project and last visited in 2007, was taken on a tour of the grounds by the Duchess of Northumberland. Afterwards he met young people who have benefited from Prince’s Trust programmes and from the Cheryl Cole Foundation which helps young people in the North East. Finally The Prince opened the Castle’s latest innovation – a Jamie Oliver’s “Ministry of Food” centre which aims to educate and inspire people about food.