‘Best day ever’ for Cambridgeshire farmer as HRH Princess Royal lands in Little Downham to meet the Corkers Crisps team
- Credit: Archant
When a helicopter landed on Wednesday at Willow Farm, Little Downham, it was for farmer Ross Taylor “the best day ever”.
For as HRH the Princess Royal stepped down to be greeted by Mr Taylor he recognised it was acknowledgement of how far his company has progressed.
Corkers Crisps is just 12 years old but now its iconic brand is familiar in over 45 countries across the globe - and is still expanding.
Mr Taylor, co-founder of the business, said he only knew a month ago of his royal visitor - long enough to put together a Fenland welcome for her.
He said the visit had been arranged through the lord lieutenant Julie Spence after she had been advised by one of her former deputies about the company's success.
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"Before we knew it we had Princess Anne for a visit," he said.
"It was quite informal - she came into the factory and began her tour round to see the product being made."
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Most if not all of his 78 strong workforce was on hand to meet and greet the Princess Royal "and one of the best bits was how lovely and down to earth she was".
Mr Taylor said: "She was knowledgeable and interested and clearly understands agriculture and potatoes."
During her 90-minute visit, the princess handed out awards to long serving members of staff and took with her a basket full of the Corkers range of crisps.
"As she was taking them back on board the helicopter she joked she was going to eat them before her grandchildren could get hold of them," he said.
Willow Farm has been in the Taylor family since the 1800s and Ross is the latest in a long line to carry on the tradition.
The Princess Royal handed out long service awards to Mark Belam, who has worked on the farm for 27 years, and another to Howard Richardson, who although nearly 80 has worked there for 25 years with little thought of retirement.
Mr Taylor said although the topic was naturally banned from being discussed with his royal visitor, Brexit was rarely far from his working day thoughts.
"Of the 45 countries we export to, probably around 30 are in the EU," he said.
"If we get a no deal Brexit it will be really bad for us because of the tariffs we will incur on exports: it will also make many other manufacturers in England non competitive. If we don't get it sorted it could be a short term disaster, even when trying to buy things from Europe."
He added: "The trouble is we are only just being to understand what Brexit means - and it's getting so very close."