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Princess Anne enjoys a taste of Ilkley

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Union flags and well-wishers were out in force as Ilkley welcomed a royal visitor to town this week.

The Princess Royal visited two of Ilkley’s most successful businesses to discover what makes them tick during a flying visit to the town.

And as well as learning some of the secrets to their success, Princess Anne also got the chance to sample some of Ilkley Brewery’s beer and a hamper of Lishman’s locally-produced fare, including black pudding and Yorkshire sausage, after receiving gifts from the companies and the best wishes of dozens of people she met in the town.

The Princess arrived at Ben Rhydding sports club in a helicopter on Tuesday morning, before a motorcade of cars took her to Ilkley Brewery on Ashlands Road.

She was greeted by directors Stewart Ross, Chris Ives and Richard Shelton and was shown how the award-winning beer is made during an hour-long tour of the premises.

As well as officially launching a new ale, Ilkley Jubilee, brewed to commemorate the diamond year, the Princess unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit and mark the installation of a sixth fermenter at the plant, which can now make up to 40,000 pints a week.

A band from the neighbouring Air Training Corps 1224 Wharfedale Squadron played a host of songs, including On Ilkla Moor Baht’at, while about 50 well-wishers also turned out in the rain to meet the Princess.

The brewery also presented her with two selection boxes of beer – one for herself and one for her father, Prince Philip.

“She was really interested in the process and the brewing industry as a whole,” Mr Ross said.

“She was very interested in the sustainability side of the business and I guess some of that’s because of her farming background.

“The Princess asked how the town has taken to us, but three years ago I would never have imagined we’d be where we are now.

“The visit has been really good and we’re chuffed.”

Mr Ross said two cases of beer given to the Princess included lighter beers for herself and darker beers for Prince Philip after hearing he was a fan.

Mr Shelton said: “This was a huge honour for the brewery and for the town and we are tremendously proud to be part of the royal celebrations.

“The Princess’s visit has been eagerly and enthusiastically awaited and it was particularly rewarding for all of us here at the brewery to be chosen specifically and personally for this occasion,”

The Princess Royal’s second stop in Ilkley was a visit to award-winning butchers shop Lishman’s of Ilkley, on Leeds Road.

She was shown around the shop, given a tour behind the scenes to see how the official Yorkshire sausage is made, and tried some of Lishman’s own salami and ham.

The Princess was introduced to suppliers from the region and customers, including a buyer for supermarket chain Morrisons, catering managers of two primary schools and representatives of an Ilkley care home. She unveiled a commemorative plaque at the rear of the shop, watched and applauded by local families who turned up in the street outside to catch a glimpse of their royal visitor.

The Princess chose to visit Lishman’s out of a number of Yorkshire businesses which were suggested as places to visit.

Business owner David Lishman said: “It was a great honour to have her request to come and see us. She’s very knowledgeable. She’s a very hands-on person, and talked about her own farm, Gatcombe Park, where she keeps Gloucester Old Spot pigs, and sells the meat to the local butchers.”

Lishman’s also presented her with a hamper of locally-produced fare, including black pudding and Yorkshire sausage.

School catering managers, Julie McCluskey, of All Saints School, Ilkley, and Tracey Mallows of Baildon Church of England Primary School, talked to the Princess of their work to source food from local suppliers for school meals.

“She seemed very genuine and sincere,” Mrs McCluskey said.

Cattle farmer, Richard Holmes, of Birstwith, who rears heifers exclusively for Lishman’s, talked to the Princess about his work.

“She’s absolutely superb,” he said.

Poultry supplier Peter Gradon, of Halifax, and his wife Brenda were also introduced to the Princess to talk about their trade.

“I think she was very nice,” Mr Gradon said.

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