Prince of Wales to visit J36 Auction Centre this week

Prince Charles during his visit to Kirkby Lonsdale last year.
Prince Charles during his visit to Kirkby Lonsdale last year.

Prince Charles will meet North Lancashire farmers on a visit to the district this week - just over a year since he was last in the region.

His Royal Highness will tour the new J36 Rural Auction Centre at Crooklands, near Mlnthorpe, off the M6, on Wednesday, April 9.

The Prince of Wales will start a day-long tour of Cumbria by meeting staff, directors and farmers at the year-old, state-of-the-art business site, a key buying and selling location for farmers across northern England.

He will see an auction of prime Herdwick lamb and meet North West Auction apprentices and tenants, who range from a multi-million pound operation to a local farmer’s daughter with her first hairdressing salon.

The prince is a well-known champion of Cumbria and enjoyed his last visit to the county just last March, when he was greeted by a large cheering crowd in Kirkby Lonsdale.

One of those eagerly awaiting the royal visit is John Drinkall, chairman of centre owners the L&K Group, who manages a hill farm with his sons on the Duke of Westminster’s Abbeystead Estate, near Lancaster.

He said: “This is a big day for us as we welcome the prince who will see our new centre in action. It was a huge and challenging project which has paid off from day one.

“Strategically placed, and in the heart of one of the finest stock rearing areas in the country, we can provide first-class facilities for farmers and customers across the agricultural community.

“And that includes a place for them to market their produce in the best possible environment. It is what each and every one of them deserves.”

John Geldard, a director of the L&K Group, added: “The prince is a terrific supporter of Cumbria and we cannot thank him enough for this visit.

“Since 2001, he has been a regular and very welcome visitor, championing our rural affairs and responding to our needs through projects supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

“His Royal Highness knows how close to the breadline our hill farmers are and how their sheep, including the Herdwick, help produce a world-class landscape that attracts millions of visitors from around the world. He understands the interdependent links between tourism, farming and the landscape.

“On a national and international level, the prince has done much to boost British agriculture, too, with mutton and wool being two good examples.”

His Royal Highness will also unveil a plaque to commemorate his visit to the centre.

The prince will spend the rest of the day on engagements in Penrith, Wigton and Workington.