It was a proud day for Lynemouth last Friday when HRH The Earl of Wessex visited the village to hear about the achievements of local organisations and enterprises.
During his trip to Northumberland, Prince Edward went to Lynemouth Resource Centre to speak with the trustees of Lynemouth Community Development Trust.
He was escorted by trust manager Andrew Gooding, who leads on the enterprises within the centre, and Mr Gooding introduced him to the staff of Kenspeckle and those involved with WEAVE.
The Kenspeckle business – the name is taken from a Northumbrian word meaning ‘distinctive’ – was set up six years ago and now markets its home-made chocolates and fudges through local outlets as well as farmers’ markets.
Last year, it was offered the chance to sell its tempting produce in Selfridges – where one of the company’s biggest sellers is now edible ‘Coal’ made from cinder toffee dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sugary black ‘coal dust’.
WEAVE is a project set up to utilise the sewing skills of former rag trade factory workers. It is supplying goods for world famous toy store brand Hamleys after a trade contract was secured.
Already, they have made clothing including toy soldier uniforms, doll-like dresses and racing overalls for staff not just working in London’s Regent Street but in other Hamleys across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Another group to speak with Prince Edward was the staff at Lynemouth Coast Carvery. Now run by Lynemouth Day Centre, it has benefited from the trust securing catering and serving equipment from the canteen at the former Alcan smelter at no cost. In addition, the librarian at the resource centre put up a small exhibition on the notice board about the last Royal visit to Lynemouth by the then Duke of York in 1928.
Lynemouth Community Development Trust chairman Bill Tarbit said that a request for a Royal visit was made last autumn and the organisation was informed that it was successful in January.
He added: “I had heard good things about Prince Edward and he more than lived up to his reputation as he was brilliant with everyone he met. “The staff were nervous about meeting him, but he made them feel very relaxed and they were buzzing afterwards.
“They felt very proud to showcase what they are doing to him. The success of these enterprises is a fantastic achievement for our community. Hopefully, we will continue this momentum and grow these enterprises, which will mean that we can employ more local people.”
The Earl of Wessex also met representatives from Isos Housing and the Big Local steering group that is working on various projects to improve and enhance what is available in the villages of Cresswell, Ellington, Linton and Lynemouth (CELL).
They include Bacmans Community Ltd, which supports people living in disadvantaged areas through its helpful, friendly and confidential service that covers a range of issues.
He unveiled a plaque to commemorate his visit and he said hello to children from the Northumberland Church of England Academy’s William Leech Campus in Lynemouth, who were stationed outside the resource centre.