THE Vale welcomed a distinguished guest yesterday as the Duke of Gloucester visited four locations in a tour of the area.

His first stop was the wetlands project at Avon Meadows in Pershore where he was greeted by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire Angela Brinton and Wychavon District Council’s heritage officer Jim Burgin.

During his visit to the wetlands, the Duke met members of the Friends of Avon Meadows, town councillors including former mayors Chris Parsons and John Grantham and students from Pershore Horticultural College.

After a walk around the wetlands, the Duke then visited Cherry Orchard First School where pupils helped him plant an elm in the school grounds. Headteacher Sarah Bitcon said the students were excited to meet the Royal visitor.

The next stop saw him heading to Evesham charity Roundabout. Based at Blackminster Business Park near Evesham, the charity recycles furniture and has been supporting individuals and families across the Vale since 1994.

Manager Bob Pooler said he was delighted and honoured that the Duke chose to visit due to his interest in conservation and that it would help raise the profile of the charity.

After Roundabout, the Duke was taken to see the award-winning factory at Kanes Foods, which recently won the Sustainability award at the Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce annual Business Awards and hit the headlines for its new stateof- the-art salad factory.

Director Roger Beard said: “We consider this visit to be an important step in the recognition of Kanes as a key player in the economic and social life of Evesham and Worcestershire.”

The last stop on the tour was the new Pebworth Fire Station where the Duke met Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer Mark Yates and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

During the visit the Duke enjoyed some artwork and stories from pupils at Pebworth First School and was introduced to some of the children and their teacher.

CFO Yates said: “We hope his tour of the fire station will be a memorable part of his visit to Worcestershire.”