Princess Anne pays flying visit to historic Broads' boatyard
- Credit: Revd Robin Myerscough
Anniversary celebrations at an historic Norfolk boatyard were handed a royal seal of approval thanks to a flying visit from Princess Anne.
The Princess Royal enjoyed what was billed as an 'East Anglia away day' dropping in at three venues spanning horses, sailing, and countryside - all a sky-hop away from each other by helicopter.
As part of the tour she enjoyed a private visit to Hunter's Yard in Ludham where she chatted with staff and members of the Friends committee who make the organisation tick.
The Hunter's Yard fleet of 21 historic craft is a rare survival on the British sailing scene which was saved for the county by a huge global effort 25 years ago.
Proud chairman of the trustees Rev Neville Khambatta, who has sailed from the yard for 50 years, said it was a "lovely" visit, which was especially poignant coming in their anniversary year.
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The Queen's daughter arrived by helicopter at around 1.30pm on Tuesday (May 11) and spent some 45 minutes at the yard where she was shown a new electric engine and a traditional launch via a greased wooden slide.
Manager Vikki Walker said it was an informal visit and while it was "a bit difficult" conducting royal duties at a distance in line with Covid-19 regulations the Princess did all she could to make everyone feel at ease, taking a real interest in the mahogany craft and chatting with those around her.
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"She is a lovely lady, very personable," she said.
"She took a lot of time for everyone.
"Considering she had just lost her father she just soldiered on and made everyone feel at ease."
Mr Khambatta said Hunter's Yard was saved thanks to an appeal launched 25 years ago by the EDP and a crucial donation from the Heritage Lottery Fund who, on his invitation, sent a representative who remembered the grant being handed over.
At the end of the visit she was presented with a book about the history of the yard.
The Princess also visited a horse sanctuary in Snetterton and Carlton Marshes in Suffolk.
The visit caused a flurry of interest and speculation around Ludham which saw Princess Anne arrive via a distinctive maroon helicopter accompanied by a fleet of vehicles on the ground.
To find out more about Hunter's Yard visit the website at www.huntersyard.co.uk.