Sir Paul McCartney visits factory

Staff at the Linda McCartney Factory in Fakenham were given a surprise treat yesterday when Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney turned up.

Workers were only told of the star's visit yesterday morning, hours before his arrival, with factory bosses eager to keep the visit under wraps.

The factory's operations director David Matwij said: 'Sir Paul last came here in October 2007. We told staff the day before and word quickly got out. The factory was surrounded by cars when he arrived that time.

'But it's been an honour to bring Paul back with his daughter Mary to see how much his brand has developed since his last visit.

'Paul and Mary spent most of the afternoon here and they were laughing and joking with staff. He's such a nice and down-to-earth guy. It was a great treat for the staff who have worked hard to help the company grow so much over the last couple of years.'

The factory was opened by Sir Paul's late wife Linda in May 1995 and the couple's influence is still clear, with photographs of them along with some of Linda's artwork decorating the walls.

The McCartney family continue to take an active role in the meat-free range to ensure that Linda's legacy lives on and all new Linda McCartney products have to be approved by them.

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The Linda McCartney range is a brand of Hain Celestial and Sir Paul and Mary were joined on their factory tour by Irwin Simon, the company's chief executive officer and president, who flew in from America.

They tasted some new products in development and returned to Linda's Kitchen, a dedicated test kitchen within the factory.

Sir Paul said: 'We always look forward to returning to the Fakenham kitchen and tasting new dishes and catching up with the development team.

'As a family we are delighted to see that Hain Celestial has remained loyal to Linda's original vision and values and continued to develop a brand that not only appeals to vegetarians but can also be part of a meat-reducing diet.'