Staffordshire Young Farmers were given the chance of a lifetime when it was announced that members would have a chance of meeting Her Majesty the Queen when she paid a visit to the County Showground on Friday 31st March as part of the Stafford 800 Celebrations. Her Majesty was due to join over 200 pensioners who were celebrating their 80th birthday in 2006, all from the Stafford Borough, for a Tea Party, as she too would be turning 80 on 21st April. It was decided at the County Development Meeting that these lucky individuals should be the County Organiser, County Chairman, County Vice Chairman and the winners of the Junior and Senior Member of the Year competitions. So Julia Taylor, Bryce MacKellar, Trevor Shelley, Reuben Moss, Vanessa Rowlinson and Toby Lawton got together to produce a display worthy of Royalty (well almost!!). With Bryce’s radical ideas, Vanessa tendency towards requiring perfection, Toby’s laminating skills and Julia’s baby bump taken into account this wasn’t going to be easy! We applied our collective ideas and produced a colourful display depicting the variation of our YFC activities.
On the big day we all met on the Saracens Head car park and piled into Julia’s car to be transported to the Showground. The security was definitely on full alert and Julia’s warning for no one to mention the word “bomb” even in a joke was taken into account by everyone including Bryce (Thank goodness!). We all had to be searched on entrance to the Showground and transported to the Ingestre Suite by coach. Everyone was in position at 11.00am ready for royal visit at 2:45pm (yes that’s right we were actually early!). Reuben’s concern that our fruit pastilles would not last the duration proved to be unfounded even when we discovered he had had twice as many as everyone else.
Eventually, the waiting paid off and despite being told that we may only get to meet The Duke of Edinburgh we were delighted when the Queen started to head our way. Her Majesty spoke to all of us, took an interest in our stand and commented on the silverware on display. The Duke of Edinburgh also took an interest in our activities. The Duke asked what our jobs were, asked Trevor what the state of farming was at the moment and enquired about the breed of Reuben’s cows! As the Royal party left the Showground by helicopter everyone agreed that it was definitely worth the wait. We were honoured to take part in this memorable occasion and it was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.