Countess of Wessex visits a Fenland farmer

PUBLISHED: 18:06 13 September 2007 | UPDATED: 23:03 28 May 2010

Pictures by Brian Purdy

Pictures by Brian Purdy

EXCLUSIVE by TOM JACKSON A FENLAND farmer enjoyed the second proudest day of his life earlier today (Thursday) when Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex paid a visit to his farm. This is the second proudest day I have ever had, only beaten by the

Pictures by Brian Purdy

EXCLUSIVE by TOM JACKSON

A FENLAND farmer enjoyed the "second proudest day" of his life earlier today (Thursday) when Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex paid a visit to his farm.

"This is the second proudest day I have ever had, only beaten by the birth of my daughter Lucy," said Chatteris farmer George Munns.

About 40 guests, made up of family, friends and business partners from across the Fens, turned out to greet the Countess on her arrival to Westmoor Farm, run by Mr Munns and his wife Jane, shortly before 2.30pm.

Pictures by Brian Purdy

Among the dignitaries were the Mayor of Chatteris, Councillor Sue Elam and her husband Brian; Councillor Bernard Keane, chairman of Fenland District Council, and his wife Sylvia; and Councillor Alan Melton, Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet member for corporate services, with his wife Joanna.

The Countess, who was accompanied on her trip by the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Hugh Duberly, was dressed in a bright red summer dress mirroring the fine weather which greeted her on arrival at the farm.

They were given a short presentation by Mr Munns before being taken on a tour of the goose production area - where the Countess could not control her laughter.

Mr Munns said: "We were talking about how the geese are plucked and processed, and about the wax we use being the same used by a lady - and she just burst out laughing."

Pictures by Brian Purdy

The Countess, who is six months pregnant with her second child and showing off her new baby bump, could not control her laughter for the best part of five minutes and, every time she had looked to calm down, started laughing again.

Her tour of the farm included a look at a reservoir built on the farm last year which will be used by neighbouring farmers during the summer months to keep their fields watered. It was built last year using natural materials, and holds 16.6 million gallons of water.

Before departing, the Countess was presented with a basket of multi-coloured roses by 10-year-old Lucy. The flowers were laid out in the basket by Mrs Munns, who is a qualified florist.

Lucy had told her classmates at the Kingsfield Primary School, in Chatteris, about the Countess' visit and said: "They were all impressed."

After spending an hour at the farm the Countess, who is married to Prince Edward, the third son of the Queen, left by helicopter. Speaking after her departure, Mr Munns said: "She was very charming and very nice. She seemed very interested and informative."

The Munns family have farmed at Westmoor Farm, in Honeysome Road, since 1959 when Mr Munns' father Lionel invested a £100 pools win on the farm, a county council smallholding.

Since then the farm has grown from 170 acres to about 500 acres it is today, and has diversified into growing Christmas geese and producing extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil in the last few years. The farm is also renowned for efforts to encourage wildlife, and measures to protect and enhance the environment.

More pictures to follow

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