The members of the Egham and Thorpe Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Association are honoured and thrilled to have His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, as the Patron of the Association since the 1950s. The Duke has taken an active interest in the Association, and has paid a number of visits to Egham during his years as Patron. His knowledge of agriculture and horticulture is vast. We have recently been allowed to promote the Prince of Wales Countryside Fund, launched by his son Charles.
Although the Duke of Edinburgh is Patron of more than 700 organisations, he has always noted our letters of information, and his private office responds to our requests. We were saddened when he was taken ill on the occasion of our last dinner at the Runnymede Hotel, when the Lord Lieutenant, Dame Sarah Goad JP stepped in t the last minute. However he graciously enabled us to have a reception in Windsor Castle six months later. Her Majesty the Queen specifically accepted our request to have the Round Tower lit up that evening.
Many of us who have been involved with the Association for years, in my case some 29 years, remember the dinner in April 2000, when the Duke met 136 people during the reception, and remembered something about each section of the Show during dinner. There was real delight in his eyes when we presented him with a hand-made model engine that night.
"As your President, it has been my honour to maintain close links with the Duke and his staff at Buckingham Palace over the years. His Equerry, first Linda Johnson and then Richard Mandrell, have made it easy to organise events with the Duke, and it has been a joy to work with our Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriffs and their adviser, Caroline Breckell, at County Hall.
It is my hope, as we approach the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015, that we may be able to invite the Duke to Runnymede once more between now and that big year."
Nick Wood-Dow DL, Association President