Fog fails to halt Prince Charles' visit to Middleton-in-Teesdale (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Fog fails to stop prince's visit to Upper Teesdale
A fog-bound North-East failed to stop Prince Charles reaching his deatination. STUART LAUNDY reports.
He may have turned up more than an hour later than scheduled but the Prince of Wales proved eager to get on with his visit.
For arriving in Middleton-in-Teesdale by car, the Prince jumped out and ran to his first appointment - a visit to a family butcher Alastair McFarlane's shop.
Originally, he had been due to land by helicopter in the grounds of the village school.
In the end, he was forced to divert to Durham Tees Valley Airport and was driven to Upper Teesdale for his third visit to the village in the last ten years.
Mr McFarlane had prepared a hamper filled with eight-year-old Renaissance Teeswater mutton, Cotherstone cheese and his own sausages, produced using a secret recipe.
“He has been coming to Middleton-in-Teesdale for years and years – he thinks so much of the place and it puts us on the map,” said Mr McFarlane.
From there, the Prince spent time meeting some of the hundreds of schoolchildren and many other well-wishers lining both sides of the street.
Middleton-in-Teesdale Primary School's acting head Tessa Fenoughty said it had been an eventful morning for all at the school.
“The Prince was due to arrive by helicopter and be met by one of our teachers and our site manager, but because of the fog he drove into the village.
“We took the entire school up into the village and we had a great position next to the butcher's.
“It was a really great location and the prince spoke to several of our children.”
After his walkabout, the Prince made his way to Raine's ironmongers and hardware store, where he was met by the owner of 30 years, Christine Mitchell, and staff Helen Teward, Lyn Rayner, Linda Collinson, Julie Robinson and Nickie Hough.
He asked how the business was doing and Christine replied: “We are still going strong. Last year was a bit tricky but this year has been canny, as we say up here.”
She explained how the shop attracted a mix of regulars - “our bread and butter” - and tourists throughout the year, before taking him for a look around the shelves.
Prince Charles confided: “I love hardware shops – they seem to go on for ever.”
From here, it was a leisurely stroll down the bank and over the bridge to the auction mart for his first engagement of the day.
As well as a large press corps covering the visit, a production team from the popular BBC1 series Countryfile was also filming for a special programme due to be screened in February looking at the Prince's involvement in various rural initiatives.