Breweries and Bunting as The Duchess of Cornwall visits Wiltshire

It was a day of breweries and bunting for The Duchess of Cornwall as she conducted a day of engagements in Wiltshire on Tuesday. Her Royal Highness was in the county to mark the 175th anniversary of Arkells Brewery and to officially open Marlborough St Mary’s Church of England School.

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The first engagement of the day was a trip to Arkells Brewery in Swindon to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the company. As part of her tour, Camilla operated the ‘Swinging Valentine’ – an essential part of the traditional brewing process which controls the flow of liquid extracted from the mashing process.

It was this ‘Swinging Valentine’ that helped lend a hand in the making of the aptly named Duchess Celebratory Ale. The limited edition ale is said to have a dark, malty base twinned with tropical fruity hops from America to balance the flavour. The Duchess of Cornwall admitted she was eager to taste the ale, which will be available in two weeks time, though made up for it by taking a sip of Arkells Bees Organic Ale, made with organic honey.

Arkells was established in Swindon in 1843 by John Arkell and has been owned by family members ever since. The brewery owns 94 pubs in Swindon and other areas including Oxford, Cheltenham and Gloucester. The brewery has previously been visited by The Duke of Kent as well as politicians William Hague and Michael Howard.

The Duchess of Cornwall praised Arkells for being a traditional family-run brewery, commenting, “It’s so nice to visit a family business. You don’t get many of them these days.”

From Arkells Brewery, The Duchess of Cornwall made her way to Marlborough St Mary’s Church of England School where she officially opened the new school building, which came in to use in September 2017.

Among those waiting for Camilla upon her arrival included the Mayor and Mayoress of Marlborough, Mervyn and Cath Hall, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sarah Troughton and Wiltshire Superintendent Chris Chammings.

The Duchess of Cornwall was accompanied on her tour of the school by Headteacher, Anne Schwodler. Their tour included a trip to a new sensory classroom for pupils with complex needs as well as a Geography class and English class to get an insight into what the children were learning.

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Pupils and staff alike were thrilled with The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the school. Ten-year-old Meenashi told Camilla, “I have done shows and it really helps with speaking and confidence, I’m not nervous doing it.”

The last point of call on The Duchess of Cornwall’s tour of the school was the hall for a performance from the school choir – who performed two songs they will be performing at London’s O2 Arena next week for the Young Voices concert.

Before leaving The Duchess of Cornwall told a packed hall, “It has been a real pleasure to visit today. I know it has taken a long time to get this to fruition but you can see it has worked brilliantly, I can see a lot of happy children.”

Photo Credit: Shaun Amey

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