This year’s Balmoral Show got the Royal seal of approval as Princess Anne toured the stalls and sampled some of the delights of the annual event .
The Princess Royal arrived on Wednesday morning at the show, in its second year at the Maze Long Kesh site.
Greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Co Down, David Lindsay and the Mayor of Lisburn, Margaret Tolerton, the Queen’s only daughter chatted with a range of exhibitors discussing everything from cutting down on red tape for farmers, to her taste in coffee.
Dr Ronan Coll, an IT Technologist with the Department of Agriculture, said the Princess Royal was very interested in the measures being taken in Northern Ireland to help farmers get online.
“She was asking about some of the support and development we offer farmers relating to online services,” he said. “I explained that it’s important to ensure there’s a good training system and support service in place in order to help and convince farmers to make the change from paper registrations to doing transactions with DARD electronically and online.”
Princess Anne spoke with traders and also viewed animals as they were being prepared for judging.
The Princess Royal watched the Young Farmers get to grips with sheep-shearing and met some of the members of the Women’s Institute, before making a trip to Tullnewbank Riding School in Glenavy to meet members of Banbridge and Moira Riding for the Disabled group as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations.
At the Riding School Princess Anne was met by Joan Christie, Lord Lieutenant of Co Antrim, Julie Jordan, Regional Chair of RDA and Shirley Lee, Group Chairman.
The Princess Royal was invited to tour the stable yard where she had the opportunity to meet riders grooming their horses as well as RDA volunteers. She also took time to view two team events within the main Arena, and on completion of the games met the riders and presented Rosettes to all those taking part.
In the main marquee Mrs Lee invited the Princess to present the President’s Award and a number of Long Service Awards to RDA volunteers, before cutting the groups’ 25th Anniversary cake. The Princess was presented with a hand-crafted wooden Shepherd’s Crook and two RDA Anniversary Tea Towels.