A LEDBURY fruit farm and manufacturing business was the focus of royal attention.

Princess Anne spent two hours yesterday visiting Haygrove Farm just outside the town and Concern Universal, Haygrove’s Hereford-based partner in international outreach.

Angus Davison, Haygrove’s chairman and founder, said: “It was a highly successful visit which went superbly. The Princess is exceptionally well-informed upon numerous subjects.”

Haygrove was chosen for the royal visit because of the sustainable business practices it carries out in its farming operations both in the UK and in South Africa.

The Bright Futures Project at Haygrove Heaven in South Africap is a programme for local farm workers from disadvantaged communities.

It is based on a training programme that, when completed, allows the participants to enter their own business partnerships with Haygrove Heaven.

Graduates leave the project with new skills, and the confidence to establish their own business, with continued support from the Haygrove team.

Other sustainability initiatives at Haygrove include its International School of Management, based in Ledbury, and The Gambia is Good Project run in partnership with Concern Universal.

Mr Davison said: “She was very interested in discussing what we do here at Haygrove and what we’re doing in our links with Africa, where we’re interested in stimulating links between small and medium enterprises in the developed and the developing world.”

The Princess Royal toured the farm and met employees, helping plant a tree which marked both her own visit and the company’s 25th year.

“It’s a pity she could not visit in June, so we could show her what the farm looks like in summer, but she was still very interested in what we are doing,” said Mr Davison.