IN his previous roles as Duke of Cornwall and Prince of Wales, King Charles made many visits to Devon, making a huge impression on the people of the county.
When he was the Prince of Wales and also Patron of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, he visited the Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs new building in Cheriton Bishop, on Thursday, July 20, 2017, where he declared open the new building, tasted the traditional dish of Junket and had-a-go at decorating hand-made butter.
His Royal Highness met members from across the 38 Devon clubs and saw a range of activities including sheep shearing, street dance, flower arranging and stock judging.
During the visit he unveiled a plaque to commemorate his visit and the formal opening of the Devon YFC Rural Hub.
He heard about the Devon YFC Farm Safety campaign which had been launched following the tragic death of two YFC members in 2017.
On arrival His Royal Highness was welcomed by the then chairman of Mid Devon District Council, Peter Heal, local councillors, the chief executive of Mid Devon District Council, Stephen Walford and from Cheriton Bishop Parish Council, councillor Tim Vought.
He was introduced to those who had helped make the new building possible, including some of those who have funded the £600,000 project to convert the former public house in the offices for the YFC and, upstairs, a range of local businesses.
He then met YFC officers, staff and representatives from clubs from across the county.
A knowledgeable farmer and conversant with the countryside, the Prince was at home, meeting and chatting with the 200 guests and YFC youth movement members.
He met two young farmers who were Duchy tenants and and met with local representatives from the Farming Community Network.
Working demonstrations he viewed included flower arranging, butter and junket making and the sheep and cattle judging.
It was while watching the sheep shearing that two sheep escaped, much to the amusement of the Prince and onlookers but these were swiftly caught by YFC members.
Claire Bellew, then Chairman of the Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Club, said: “We were honoured to have Prince Charles visit us to open The Amory Building here in Cheriton Bishop, and to showing the Prince around.
“It gave us an opportunity to showcase what the YFC does.
“We purchased this building in 2008 and have spent £60,000 renovating it thanks to Young Farmers’ Clubs raising money, donations and from trusts and grants.
“We moved in here in December 2016 and are delighted to have been able to show the Prince some of these activities.
“He was very interested in everything and it was a huge privilege to be able to introduce him to other YFC members and meet him.”
Nick Creasy, then operations manager, Devon YFC, said: “What a fantastic day it has been. The Prince met members and guests and it was a great honour to have him open our building.
“We are fortunate that he understands the rural countryside way of life and show him that Devon has a strong Federation of Young Farmers’, including skills, travel, charity fundraising and social activities.
“YFC members certainly do a lot in Devon.
FARM SAFETY CAMPAIGN
“We also talked about our Farm Safety Campaign because, sadly, two Devon YFC members died this year (2017) in farming accidents.
“Farming is a dangerous industry but I think there is a bright future for Young Farmers in Devon.
“The Federation has got bigger and has an active membership of 1,600, of which we are very proud.”
The Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs provide members aged between 10 and 26, a unique opportunity to develop skills, work with their local community, travel abroad and compete in a range of competitions.
Dating back to 1920, the Federation was first formed in Hemyock in Devon with the first calf club in the country. In the mid-1920s, the club joined formed forces with other similar rural and agricultural clubs to form The Young Farmers Movement.
The Amory Building takes its name from the Amory family who have supported the Devon Federation since 1930, with Viscount Amory helping to form clubs and encourage young people to join in those early years.
The Princes Countryside Fund was one of the organisations which supported the fund to convert the former public house to new offices for Devon YFC.
UNVEILING OF PLAQUE
Before leaving to travel to Okehampton, HRH signed a visitor book, unveiled a plaque to mark the opening and received the gift of a hand-crafted metal sign, made by Tom Lee from Newton St Cyres YFC, which read, HRH Prince of Wales, YFC.
He was presented with a thank you card and the gift of a bouquet of flowers for his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
Children from the local primary school stood outside and waved flags and greeted his arrival at the YFC Centre.
His Royal Highness also chatted with Yvonne Walker (93), from Truro, who was staying with relatives in the village.
She discussed how she had been a Cypher Officer for Winston Churchill during the Second World War.
Before leaving, three cheers were given to HRH The Prince of Wales, which was followed by applause.