Royal seal of approval for the Royal Norfolk Show
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
The Countess of Wessex has championed the importance and diversity of Norfolk's rural economy during a visit to the Royal Norfolk Show.
From seeing award winning livestock to talking to farmers, producers and young members of the rural community, Sophie, The Countess of Wessex showed her support for Norfolk's agricultural community during a packed visit to the opening day of the Royal Norfolk Show.
Joining thousands of visitors to the popular agricultural show, The Countess, who is the president the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, started her tour of the show with a visit to the Rare Breed Survival Trust tent.
Enjoying good weather and followed by an entourage of stewards and show officials, The Countess met some of the rare breeds on show and took time to speak to youngsters and members of the RBST about the organisation, which works to protect the future of rare breeds.
Mary Watkins, a committee member of the RBST who spoke to The Countess, said it was "brilliant" to receive a visit from the The Countess, she said: "The fact that president comes and shows an interest in the RBST and the work of the RBST... it all helps draw attention to us.
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"She was asking what we do, how long we have been coming to the Norfolk show, she was really interested in what we're doing," she said.
The Countess, also took time to visit the Adnams Food and Drink tent, where she spoke to a range of food and drink producers from across Norfolk, including St Giles Gin, an independent gin distillery based in Norwich.
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Simon Melton, the owner of St Giles Gin said: "It was lovely [to be visited by The Countess] it was nice to get recognition from royalty, she really like our gin.
"She was interested in the fact that we're a genuine distillery," he said.
During a visit to the EDP tea tent, the Countess spoke powerfully about the importance of food production, the countryside and engaging young people in rural life.
She said the Royal Norfolk Show was a "brilliant showcase" for everything which is great about life in the county.
With advance ticket sales up on the previous years and with good weather throughout the day, visitor numbers for the opening day of the Royal Norfolk Show were estimated to be up on previous years.
Greg Smith, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, said he thought the first day of the show had gone "particularly well", he said: "Early indications show we have had a really good turn out but, more importantly our plans have worked and we have enjoyed a very successful day on all fronts."
Mr Smith it was wonderful to receive the support of The Countess of Wessex, he said: "The Countess joined us last night for our pre-show dinner where she praised judges and stewards for all that they do for the Royal Norfolk Show in promoting food, farming and the countryside to the wider community.
"I think she speaks very powerfully about the need for people, particularly children and young people, to learn about and have an affinity for all that is good about the rural environment and she views agricultural shows like the Royal Norfolk Show to be an absolutely vital way of achieving that," he said.