Earlier today Preston Markets was filled with crowds in anticipation for the arrival of the Earl and Countess of Wessex to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee and Preston’s 20th anniversary of city status.Advertisement
Preston City Councillors including Mayor of Preston Councillor Neill Darby, greeted Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones with a warm welcome.
The couple went on to greet youngsters who were waving the British flag and eagerly waiting in a line for a quick chat.
The Earl and Countess also got to meet Preston’s Covid Response team to find out how they dealt with limited human interactions over the past few years, as well as meeting the architects who are involved in the redevelopment of the city.
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Imran Master – the director of Noor Foodbank, one of the many organisations affected by the global pandemic – was invited to attend the event.
Imran told Blog Preston that the non-profit organisation managed to increase its reach to areas beyond Preston to make sure people were receiving food support. Now he sees the hard work being celebrated on joyous occasions like today.
He said: “It just shows that you do get recognised for the hard work that people put in.
“It was a nice gesture by Preston City Council for Noor Foodbank to be invited to this event and it has been a really good experience.
“The Earl of Wessex was absolutely brilliant, he was very interested in what we’ve done, how we actually changed our model throughout the pandemic and he was very thankful of the work that we’ve been doing.”
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The Countess was accompanied inside the market and had discussions with a community group focussed on the resettlement of families from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Their Royal Highnesses spoke with market traders indoors individually, and acknowledged the success and effort of small local businesses. People in the crowd followed them eager to start a conversation, which they happily obliged with.
The owner of Indian street food vendor Chacha’s, who has been working in Preston Markets for the last 15 years, said it was a brilliant experience meeting members of the royal family.
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Salman Ahmed told Blog Preston that Sophie, Countess of Wessex tried a popular item from the menu: “Our biryani is famous anyway, so she tried it and I’m really pleased that she liked it.”
The Earl and Countess of Wessex reunited outside to meet creator Nick Park at the bronze statue paying homage to his iconic Wallace and Gromit characters.
They left around 1pm and made their way to the Miller Park to complete the royal visit.
As attendees made their way out of the market, one person said: “It was a wonderful experience and I wasn’t expecting it to be this engaging and brilliant.”
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Did you attend the royal visit today? How did you find the event? Let us know in the comments below.