As a former special representative for international trade and investment, the Duke of Kent provided three enterprising businesses in Herefordshire with a royal seal of approval when he visited the county. The Duke took a tour of the county, visiting each business and meeting staff.
He arrived by helicopter at Prometheus Medical, which is a leading provider of pre-hospital medical training and equipment located at Hope under Dinmore. He unveiled a plaque during his visit where he was accompanied by Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Lady Darnley.
Dr Malcolm Russell launched the enterprise; the Russell Chest Seal has been saving lives around the world. The business received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise two years ago.
Dr Russell told the Ledbury Reporter that it was a “great honour” to receive a visit from the Duke. He also remarked on how this visit was a significant milestone in the businesses evolution. The Duke met staff and county dignitaries such as Lord Lisvane and his wife, Councillor John Stone representing Herefordshire, Council Chairman Councillor Brian Wilcox, who was recently appointed High Sheriff, and Leominster MP Bill Wiggin.
A signed photo of His Royal Highness is to be added to a time capsule which is to be opened in 2117; of the time capsule, Dr Russell said: “This is a key day in our history and to mark the event we are planting a two-ton stone on top of a time capsule.”
Samples of the business’s groundbreaking medical aids have been added, and staff members each have had a say in what to place inside.
Dr Russell continued: “There’s a card for the person who opens it in 2117.
“No doubt they will have a chuckle at the antique, old-fashioned medical equipment!”
The Duke next travelled to Kington in north-west Herefordshire where he was greeted by the Mayor, Councillor Elizabeth Banks. He met local craftspeople in a part of the county that rarely receives royal visits. The Duke toured the 70-acre Hergest Croft Gardens, a notable site in the area.
He shook hands with many town councillors before being invited to plant a magnolia tree in the gardens. “It was quite a moment for the town,” said Councillor Banks, who is a horticulturist.
She said she was “very proud” when the Duke admired the work of locally-based craftsmen and women like Kington blacksmith Marcus Henke, clog maker Jeremy Atkinson, silkscreen artist Celia Kibblewhite, potter James Burnett-Stuart and Anwar Mahmood and Jackie Staples who run Woodthorpe Preserves.
“He thought they were all terrific,” said Councillor Banks. “It was quite special having a royal visit to Kington and Hergest.”
The final stop on the Duke’s tour of the county was to Whittern farm estate, Lyonshall. Mrs Jo Hilditch provided him with a tour of the White Heron Drink production facility. Jo is the creator of the award-winning brand, British Cassis, and this is where it is made.
He met many business owners from a diverse portfolio of enterprises around the county: Orgasmic Cider Company, Edward Bulmer Natural Paints, Herbfarmacy, Tiggs Sauces, Broadfield Wines, and Lyonshall marquee company, Burgoynes.
Jo’s husband, Ian Hilditch has won three Queen’s Awards for international trade. According to the Ledbury Reporter: “The Duke was impressed by the level of innovation and diversification that the county’s rural businesses are achieving.”
Jo said about the Duke’s visit: “We were delighted to host the Duke during his visit.
“The breadth and depth of Herefordshire businesses is extremely inspiring.”
Jo added that she was very passionate about representing British businesses on a global scale. She thought that a visit from the Duke was “extremely validating” for these county enterprises.