The Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Stotfold Mill
PUBLISHED: 17:29 17 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010
The Duke of Edinburgh heard some serious grinding during his tour of Stotfold Mill on Friday and it just wasn't the machinery that was making a noise. Hordes of children turned up to greet the prince at their local landmark.
The Duke of Edinburgh heard some serious grinding during his tour of Stotfold Mill on Friday and it just wasn’t the machinery that was making a noise.
Hordes of children turned up to greet the prince at their local landmark. However, after waiting for an extra 45minutes in the torrential rain they saw him ushered straight in without so much as a wave. Parents ground their teeth angrily before taking the disappointed kids, with their soaking flags, home to dry off.
Colin Phelps, headteacher of St Mary’s Lower School, said: “We thought the children were wonderful to wait in the torrential rain. It’s a pity he couldn’t say hello, it’s a little disappointing.”
Isabelle Collier, wife of Cllr Brian Collier who was among those accompanying the Duke on his tour, had been at Arlesey earlier in the day to welcome the royals. She was grateful for the duke supporting the mill; however her favourite moment only highlighted the difference during the duke’s solo visit.
She said: “The best moment of the day was when the Queen saw the kids with their poppies and beckoned them over as that is an experience they will remember.”
Among those who turned out to get a glance of Prince Philip were the volunteers of the mill expressing pride in the building they helped bring back to life.
Sheila Archer, 68, of Stotfold, is part of The Stotfold Art Group as well as belonging to The Stotfold Mill Trust. She said: “The mill was burnt down in 1992 and we’re building it up again brick by brick. A lot of hard money and work has gone into it.”
Dismal weather failed to completely ruin the day though as those that did decide to hang around cheered and waved when the prince made his exit.
However, it appeared that the prince was in such a rush to leave that the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Samuel Whitbread, was left standing outside until the car reversed back for him.
Stotfold supporters were happy for the recognition the refurbished mill received as the building is barely recognisable as the devastated site of past years.
Randall’s Tea Room within the mill poured its first cup in April this year and the working mill opened to the public in May. However, the mill opened formally in October and its future certainly looks golden.