Royal seal of approval! Prince Harry says Suffolk is magnificent


Harry joins in sport coaching

Prince Harry has praised the people of Suffolk for putting up with his day and night Apache helicopter flights as he visited the county's agricultural show.

Harry, who flew the deadly aircraft on training missions from RAF Wattisham near Bury St Edmunds, spoke with real affection about the area and its residents during a day spent in Ipswich.

He now has a military desk job in Whitehall but he paid tribute to Suffolk for being "durable, powerful and magnificent" and, in the centenary year of the start of the First World War, highlighted the men from the county who died for freedom. Source PA

Surrounded by bellowing sheep in the president's parade ring the Prince gave a speech and made the crowds laugh when he told them he hoped he could be heard despite the noise.

He added: "It's no accident Britain's greatest landscape painters took their inspiration from Suffolk's huge skies and gentle seas.

"I know this because I have had the pleasure of flying Her Majesty's Apaches through those skies over the past years.

"Which brings me to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the welcome and kindness I have received during my time as a Suffolk soldier.

"It's one thing to have experienced such generosity of spirit, it's quite another to have encountered it from people who have had me buzzing over them and their animals at all hours of the day and night."

The prince toured the show, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors over two-days, and saw prize winning farmyard animals, from cattle and sheep to horses, and toured displays of tractors and combine harvesters, and met young farmers and many others associated with the farming industry.

During his visit Prince Harry reacted in amazement when an 80-year-old horse breeder told him he had finally married his girlfriend - after 40 years as a couple.

Tom and Sandy Walne from Ipswich consider themselves newlweds after marrying on February 19.

Mrs Walne, 66, said: "When we told him we'd only just got married after being together for 40 years he went 'good gracious - did you rush into it?' and asked 'what sealed the deal?'

Her husband, who is aged 80, added: "I just said to him I was doing my apprenticeship - I had a 40 year apprenticeship and I passed it."

Mrs Walne, described the moment they got engaged: "We were sat in our arm chairs one night and he said to me 'we ought to get married girl,' I digested it and thought perhaps it might be a good idea."

Tory Lugsden, county organiser for Suffolk Young Farmers, introduced Harry to some of her members who had been instrumental in organising for hay and straw to be sent to farms in the West Country that were stricken by floods over the winter.

She said: "He said the pace of life in the city is so much faster so coming to the countryside calms the whole thing away.

"I asked for a selfie and told him I was bet £5 I wouldn't ask. But he said he couldn't or everyone would want one."

Before leaving, Harry took the salute of Royal British Legion standard-bearers who marched past him, then handed out best in show prizes in an arena.

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