Duke of Gloucester visits agricultural business

Susan Garford meets  the Duke of Gloucester.  Photo: SM100311-006ow.jpg
Susan Garford meets the Duke of Gloucester. Photo: SM100311-006ow.jpg
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A ROYAL visitor was given a warm welcome at an agricultural firm.

Staff at Garford Farm Machinery rolled out the red carpet to welcome the Duke of Gloucester to their factory at Frognall, Deeping St James, on Friday last week.

The duke, the Queen’s cousin, paid a special visit to congratulate the firm on winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for outstanding innovation last year.

The engineering firm, which employs 19 people, designed a piece of pioneering machinery, called Robocrop InRowWeeder, which uses a computer and camera to automatically pull out the weeds from between rows of crops.

Managing director Phillip Garford said: “It was a huge honour to get the opportunity to show His Royal Highness what was involved in making a machine like the Robocrop InRow Weeder and I hope he found the visit of interest.

“We are determined to grow the business in the future and continue to make technology-based equipment to help the modern farmer to secure an environmentally sustainable future.”

The duke was welcomed to the factory shortly before 2pm on Friday by the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth, who introduced him to Mr Garford who told him about the family-founded company.

It was founded in 1986 by Norman Garford and Ted Chamberlain, who were also introduced to the royal guest.

They explained the company’s early work in developing technology, called skew bar toppers, for sugar beet farmers.

Design and technical director Michael Garford took the duke through the processes the company went through to design the weeder and other developments in the industry.

The duke followed up the talk by seeing how the new weeder made its way from the drawing board to its construction on the factory floor.

He then toured the building and met the rest of the staff who work for Garford Farm Machinery.

At the end of his visit, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the occasion.

Finance director Janet Garford said after the visit: “It was a privilege to have His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester visit our small family-run business.

“We hope he got a good insight into the very committed and dedicated work carried out by our staff, many of whom have worked for the company for many years.”