Todmorden was in the presence of Royalty yesterday when Princess Anne called in to visit a thriving local business.
The Princess Royal was the guest of honour at Pextenement Cheese Company’s open day as owner Carl Warburton and the team welcomed her and around 50 invited guests for a tour of the firm’s Eastwood premises.
Carl said: “It was an amazing experience.
“A lot of planning went into it and I think it all came together on the day.”
During her visit, Princess Anne had a tour of the cheese room, met the animals and sampled some of the Pextenement products.
She was presented with a hamper of cheeses made by the company and she wished the Pextenement team all the best for the future.
“She is the most famous person we’ve ever had visit us,” Carl said.
“Hopefully she can help us spread the word about Todmorden.”
The Royal visit came to fruition after the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire’s office read an article about Carl and the team and put Pextenement Cheese Company forward on the list of potential places for the Princess to visit in 2013.
“It was a bit of a surprise at first but I got used to it,” Carl said.
“It’s been about a year in the planning and then last month we got the go-ahead to let everyone know that she would be coming.
“It was our open day so we invited customers and people who have helped us along the way to celebrate with us.
“It’s been a good time for us. We won Yorkshire Life magazine’s local producer of the year award and then the Royal visit came along.
“It was great.”
It is not the first time Carl has been in the presence of Royalty. He met Prince Charles when he visited Todmorden a couple of years ago.
“Both Prince Charles and Princess Anne have been really good to speak to,” he said.
“They are really knowledgeable about farming and food.”
Among the invited guests was Mayor of Todmorden Coun Abid Hussain.
“It was a great honour to meet Princess Anne,” he said.
“I’m glad that we got a visit from the Royal family.
“It’s cheering people up and it’s nice to see our local businesses doing well.”
Helena Cook, of Incredible Edible Todmorden (IET), said: “It’s nice seeing people who have been inspired by food.
“It was great to be invited and to be part of a celebration of local food.”
Nick Green, also of IET, said: “It was a really good, solid affirmation that we are on the right road.
“It’s heart-warming that the Royal family are taking so much interest in Todmorden.”
Rhona Tiernan, of Bear Wholefoods, said it had been an amazing day.
“Todmorden is a small place but an important place and people are willing to come, give up their time and support local businesses and take an interest in local producers.
“It’s putting Todmorden on the map.”
Established in 2008, Pextenement Cheese Company produces high quality cheeses using solely organic milk produced by Pextenement Farm.
Carl and the team have picked up several accolades, including a silver medal at the 2011 British Cheese Awards.