Video/Gallery: Prince Harry’s heartfelt thanks to county during visit to the Suffolk Show
19:10 29 May 2014
Sarah Lucy brown
Prince Harry has thanked the people of Suffolk for their “kindness” during his three years as a soldier in the county.
At a packed Suffolk Show today, the Royal guest gave a heartfelt speech which revealed his fondness for Suffolk and how much he had enjoyed his time here.
It came on the second day of the county’s agricultural show at Trinity Park, Ipswich, which organisers tonight hailed a huge success.
The Prince, who was an Apache pilot based at Wattisham Airfield until recently, said: “It’s no accident Britain’s greatest landscape painters took their inspiration from Suffolk’s huge skies and gentle seas.
“I know this because I have had the pleasure of flying Her Majesty’s Apaches through those skies over the past years.
“Which brings me to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the welcome and kindness I have received during my time as a Suffolk soldier.
“It’s one thing to have experienced such generosity of spirit, it’s quite another to have encountered it from people who have had me buzzing over them and their animals at all hours of the day and night.”
He paid tribute to Suffolk for being “durable, powerful and magnificent” and, in the centenary year of the start of the First World War, highlighted the men from the county who died for freedom.
Prince Harry also thanked the people of Suffolk for giving him privacy while he was stationed in the county – he was grateful for the opportunity of living a relatively “normal” life while at Wattisham.
He went on to tour the show, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors over two days, and saw prize-winning farmyard animals, from cattle and sheep to horses, and toured displays of tractors and combine harvesters, and met young farmers and many others associated with the farming industry.
As the Suffolk Show came to an end tonight, the event’s honorary director, Bill Baker, hailed it a success.
Mr Baker said he had been left “staggered” and “thrilled to bits” by the reaction to the two-day event.
“You could sense the anticipation before Prince Harry’s arrival,” he said.
“We had to keep the programme to ourselves for security reasons but the crowds were desperate to see him. The children that he presented the award to for farming - you could see the joy, tears and pride their parents had because of their achievement. When the children started the project never in their wildest dreams had they any idea that Harry would be presenting the award.”