Residents share their experience of HRH Prince Charles' visit to Clitheroe

Businessman Kevin Horkin welcomes Prince Charles to Clitheroe.
Businessman Kevin Horkin welcomes Prince Charles to Clitheroe.
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Freezing hailstones and icy winds did not deter HRH Prince Charles from spending more than an hour and a half talking to the crowds lining the streets of Clitheroe during his visit to the town today.

Greeted by hundreds of well wishers, including flag waving school children and others wearing Union Jack hats, Prince Charles arrived at Clitheroe Railway Station at around 10-15am and didn't leave until after 11-30am.

Clitheroe residents Les and Pat Pickering with other Royal well wishers.

Clitheroe residents Les and Pat Pickering with other Royal well wishers.

As the royal entourage processed up King Street, Prince Charles stopped and chatted to people young and old who had braved the winter like conditions to catch a glimpse of the country's heir to the throne.

Laura Houghton, of Brownlow Street, Clitheroe, was just one of the many parents who had brought their children to enjoy this rare and special occasion.

Standing with her 20-month-old daughter Olivia on King Street, Laura was thrilled when Prince Charles asked Olivia what she was drinking.

"I was so excited," said Laura. "He said 'hello' to Olivia and I said it was nice to meet him."

Peter and Gillian Holden, who made a special trip to the town from Baxenden for the occasion, also spoke to the prince.

"He asked if we were residents and we told him that we are from Baxenden," Peter explained. "He asked if we'd had any trouble parking.

"We came over specially to meet him and we've really enjoyed it."

Clitheroe resident Sarah Hitchen, of Chester Avenue, her three-year-old daughter Felicity and her 19-year-old niece Hollie Bergman were also thrilled when Prince Charles spoke to them.

Hollie, who was holding her cousin Felicity at the time, said: "He asked whether Felicity was keeping her mum up at night and asked how many children I have. I told him that I was her cousin and he asked how old she is."

Young entrepreneur Hollie, who has just set up her own dog grooming business at Abbots Croft in Whalley, agreed with her aunty that Prince Charles' visit is a huge boost for the town.

Her aunty Sarah commented: "It's really good for Clitheroe especially as it's promoting the food festival and local business."

And that's a point that local businessman Kevin Horkin could not agree with more.

Mr Horkin, who decorated his shop with welcome banners for the visit, also spoke to Prince Charles.

"His Royal Highness said he would be calling into my shop for spectacles next time he was in town," said Mr Horkin, who owns Spex Opticians on King Street.

"Here in the Ribble Valley we are real Royalists as you can see by the number of people who have turned out on such a day. It's like the sun is shining!"

Julie Oliver, who is practice manager at Castle Medical Practice at Clitheroe Health Centre and Rachael Burns, who is deputy receptionist, also met Prince Charles.

"He asked us if we worked for the NHS and if we had left all the patients."

Clitheroe residents Les and Pat Pickering were also spoken to by the prince as he made his way up King Street to Castle Street on which stalls had been set up offering a taster of what Clitheroe Food Festival is all about.

"He said he was pleased to meet us and then said that he hoped we were not too cold," said Pat.

The prince also chatted to Mia Parkinson, of Edward Drive, Clitheroe, who is community transport service manager for the local Royal Voluntary Service, one of the patrons of which is HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. Mia was at the royal visit with her colleagues.

"He asked if I'd ever been to Byrnes and what a fantastic wine shop it is. He then spoke to us all saying what fantastic produce and amazing food there is on offer at Clitheroe Food Festival."

Local school children also braved the cold to catch a glimpse of and even meet the prince.

A contingency of pupils from St Michael and St John's RC Primary School in Clitheroe were lucky to come face-to-face with the prince on Castle Street.

Kathryn Wilkinson, who is the school's bursar, said: "He was lovely with the children and made a beeline for them when he saw they were from a school.

"He asked where the school was and what lessons they were missing.

"It was worth getting cold for!"

Pupils from Pendle Primary School in Clitheroe were also delighted to meet His Royal Highness.

The 18 members of the school council originally waited outside Barclays Bank for Prince Charles, but when he addressed members of the public on the other side of the road, they ran through the market up to Castle Street.

And there efforts paid off when the prince stopped to speak to them telling the children how he had been given a big chocolate brownie with a Union Jack flag on it.

Teenagers from Ribblesdale High School's media team were also in town for the royal visit with pupils Lauren Blackman, Lilly Vaughan-Williams and Erica Wallbank taking notes and photographs.

Several other Clitheroe schools also witnessed the historic visit.

Prince Charles visited the town to learn more about Clitheroe Food Festival and meet some of its producers.

Colin Darlington, of Bolton-by-Bowland, has been exhibiting at the festival since it first started with his crepe making business C'est Bonne.

"Clitheroe Food Festival is now recognised as one of the premium events in the country so it's really exciting to be able to showcase the festival to Prince Charles."