IN terms of public interest, there was one standout contender for Todmorden in 2010, when Prince Charles visited the town in September.
He had been here before, attracting the crowds when he came to the town in February, 1989. This time around he went away with an “I Love Tod” badge pinned to his lapel.
His visit had a purpose, to find out what Todmorden was doing best, and taking away some of the good ideas developed in the town.
His visit was part of the Prince’s Start Initiative, launched through the Prince’s Charities Foundation, to promote and celebrate sustainable living by encouraging people to consider more energy efficient and less wasteful ways of life.
He was keen to meet people involved in the production of local food, including Incredible Edible Todmorden group members and many of the stallholders at Todmorden Market.
Spending several hours of the afternoon here, he got to see many of the elements that make Todmorden a fairly self-sufficient community that can still use its ingenuity to live up to the town’s motto “By industry we prosper.”
Given a warm welcome by lots of local schoolchildren and music from Todmorden Community Band, he met civic heads including the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Todmorden, Coun Richard White and the Rev Sandy White.
With Mary Clear acting as the Prince’s guide around the town, he took in places ranging from Todmorden Information Centre to the Community Car Service, and the Acorn Centre to the Hippodrome Theatre. And, of course, he met plenty of people.
More than 40 Ferney Lee School pupils met Prince Charles in the Hippodrome Theatre, who were taking part in the Eco-kids project. He also met volunteers from three businesses - Marshall’s, Provident Insurance and the Yorkshire Bank, who were running Business in the Community projects.
In a special Cooking Bus the Prince got to work making cheese and vegetable pasties alongside students from Todmorden High School’s nutrition action group.
Todmorden Art Group, Todmorden In Bloom, Every Egg Matters and Future Jobs Fund members all met Charles, who was also shown around Todmorden Health Centre’s herb garden by IET’s Nick Green and Helena Cooke.
He made his way back up to the railway station via the Rochdale Canal towpath and Fielden Wharf, where more cheering crowds saw him head back for the royal train, his mode of transport for the week.
Mary Clear said it had been a grand day for all Todmorden, with the Prince making a special effort to talk to young people - who will soon enough be helping shape the town’s future.