The Prince of Wales spent the day in Herefordshire on Tuesday; Prince Charles was in the area to visit the technology company ETL Systems and opening the Gilpin 2020 tourism festival.
While visiting ETL Systems, the Prince was given a tour of the state of the art factory, which creates high performance satellite communications and radio frequency (RF) equipment that is commonly used in satellite ground stations. ETL are well known for their innovative concepts, and have won three Queen’s Awards for International Trade, as well as winning the 2018 Explorer of the Year award from the Herefordshire Chamber of Commerce.
Out of the top 12 NATO governments, eight of them utilise ETL products. Likewise, 14 of the top 20 global satellite operators use ETL equipment. Because of this, the company has positively contributed immensely to the surrounding area. Not only has ETL Systems helped to boost the local economy by providing jobs, but they additionally help to train and develop their highly educated staff as well.
The company is also a founding sponsor of NMiTE (New Model in Technology and Engineering), the future engineering university based in Hereford. The hope is for ETL to source new engineering talent from the university’s future graduates.
During his tour, Charles had the opportunity to meet with many of the staff, including the production and engineering teams. He was given a demonstration of the company’s super compact Hurricane Matrix as well as other projects that the teams are developing.
After unveiling a commemorative plaque recognising the company’s local contributions, The Prince of Wales gave a speech to ETL’s staff expressing: “What you all do is remarkable, and it is of enormous importance to Herefordshire and to the country. it is wonderful to see such skilled engineering being applied in this particular field.”
“Clearly, you are producing very high quality, high standard equipment which is used to great effect by customers in over 180 countries. Ladies and gentleman, I hope you go from strength to strength.”
“With the arrival of the new engineering university in Herefordshire, it will make an even bigger difference to what you are able to do. There is a big black hole in engineering skills to be filled, and NMiTE seems to be an extremely good way to fill those gaps.”
Here we have HRH The Prince Of Wales meeting our production team & checking out our state of the art facilities @ClarenceHouse
— ETL Systems (@ETLSystems) November 5, 2019
Afterwards, Chief Executive Officer of ETL Systems, Ian Hilditch spoke of his pleasure at the royal visit:” It was a great honour to have HRH visit our facilities. Hopefully, we were able to show a glimpse of some technology being produced in amongst the apple orchards of Herefordshire, which is a bit different than what is usually seen around here! “
“We are extremely proud of our heritage as a rural company achieving global success. We have aggressive growth plans over the coming years, and we hope that will further help the local economy. This opportunity for the staff to meet HRH has been a great way to recognise their hard work and success with ETL.”
The next engagement for The Prince of Wales was a trip to Ross-on-Wye, to officially open the Gilpin 2020 festival. The town is known to be the “birthplace” of British Tourism. The festival is named after William Gilpin, who is believed to have published the first tourist guide in the UK almost 250 years ago: Mr. Gilpin decided to document his first trip to the picturesque town of Ross-on-Wye so that he could encourage others to visit and enjoy the beautiful tranquility of the town.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) November 5, 2019
As he arrived, Prince Charles was greeted by members of the British Legion, who had assembled with hundreds of well-wishers from the town. The future King made his way through the crowds while making a point to shake as many hands as possible.
Once through the swathes of people, the Prince lit a beacon to officially declare the festival open. The beacon had other ideas and promptly blew out which gave quite a laugh to all – especially Charles!
Taking in all that the festival had to offer, The Prince of Wales chatted with local food and drink producers while also sampling a locally-brewed ale. Paul Williamson, owner of Gloucestershire-based Hillside Brewery said that Charles had tasted his Over the Hill mild brew and liked it. “He said that it was nice and had good body. He seemed to enjoy it, which is fantastic.”
The Prince also spoke with some veterans, schoolchildren and members of some of the local community groups, including one woman dressed as a hedgehog! The hedgehog is a centuries old symbol of the town Ross-on-Wye.
The chairwoman of the local Tourism Association, Caroline Utting, expressed that the visit by Prince Charles would help to raise the area’s profile as one of outstanding natural beauty and draw more people for next year’s festival. “For the prince to choose it as his theme for the visit is a wonderful gift for us. Tourism is very, very important in the local area.”
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Ross-on-Wye’s historic Market Hall while on a trip to the town in 1957. Today, Prince Charles stood in the very same spot that his parents did while overlooking the Market. A perfect example showing the Monarchy coming full circle and the beginning of a new era.