May 25, 2021

The Market Place organises Royal Visit to launch Surrey Day 2021

The team at The Market Place were delighted to organise a royal visit to officially launch Surrey Day 2021, which took place on Saturday May 1, under the guise of our Local Food Surrey food and drink network.

With ongoing Covid restrictions and the recent passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, The Earl of Wessex’s visit to Kingfisher Farm Shop in the village of Abinger Hammer had to be arranged in super-quick time.

In fact, we were given just one week’s notice that our request had been granted.

So it was all hands to the proverbial pump at The Market Place while also arranging further Surrey Day visits; producing Visit Surrey newsletters and website copy; and preparing for a jam packed day of social media action on Local Food Britain and Visit Surrey accounts.

Royal visit to Abinger Hammer

All the hard work paid off, however, and Local Food Surrey members Kingfisher Farm Shop, Abinger Cookery School and Chalk Hills Bakery were all at the forefront of proceedings at the royal visit on Friday April 30.

On the day, The Earl was very relaxed and enjoyed a leisurely chat with everyone as he heard about the challenges they had faced and overcome throughout the pandemic year, as well as their hopes for Surrey food and drink in the future.

The wonder of watercress

The Earl even donned his Wellington boots to learn about watercress production and harvested a “hand” of the crop, while chatting to Kingfisher Farm Shop owners, Marion McBurney and her 82-year-old father Barrie Arminson – their family has been nurturing the quintessentially English product since 1854.

He then helped Abinger Cookery School head chef Jake Pinn prepare a watercress pesto, while hearing from owner Lizzie Marsh about the difficulties the school had faced, having taken over just before the first lockdown, as well as their Duke of Edinburgh cookery course success.

And, of course, we didn’t need to encourage the brilliant Chris and Rosie Robinson from Chalk Hills Bakery to tell His Royal Highness all about their amazing bread.

The pair were then also able to present The Earl of Wessex, who lives in the county, with a Local Food Surrey food and drink hamper before the end of his visit.

A day of celebration in Surrey

Founded by our friends at BBC Radio Surrey, Surrey Life magazine and the Visit Surrey tourist board at a meeting at The Market Place's office in South Nutfield, Surrey Day takes place on the first Saturday in May and is a celebration of the people and places that make Surrey such a unique county, from the beautiful countryside to the world class attractions and award-winning food and drink producers.

We are pleased to be able to share that Surrey Day 2022 is already pencilled in the diary for Saturday May 7.

Photos: Mark Lewis Photography

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