Norfolk pea harvester to represent the nation's farming industry
Chris Hill An enormous Norfolk-made pea harvester is heading to London to represent the nation's farming industry at the historic Lord Mayor's Show.
An enormous Norfolk-made pea harvester is heading to London to represent the nation's farming industry at the historic Lord Mayor's Show.
The �350,000 agricultural giant was waved off by primary school children as it left PMC Harvesters, in Fakenham, for its role in tomorrow's spectacular civic parade to welcome the 682nd Lord Mayor of London, Nick Anstee.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators, including a national TV audience, are expected to watch the three-mile procession, which has snaked through the streets of the capital for 800 years.
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As well as planting Fakenham's flag in the agricultural map, the machine was chosen by the Worshipful Company of Farmers to represent the entire UK industry and support the Yes Peas campaign, which champions the frozen pea sector.
And with 20pc of the nation's tiny green vegetables grown in Norfolk, PMC bosses said they were thrilled that one of their creations would represent this vital part of the county's economy.
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Customer services manager Morris Holl said: “We are absolutely thrilled this machine is going to be there. Hopefully it will be mentioned that this specialised equipment is made here in little old Fakenham. We're proud to put the town on the map, and I'm sure the machine will get a few looks as it drives around London.”
The 6,000-strong London procession will include Worshipful Company of Farmers court member Lindsay Hargreaves, dressed in traditional farmers' garb.
He said: “Pea growers in this country really only have two machinery suppliers to choose from and it is no accident that one of them is here in the heart of Norfolk. There are a lot of peas grown here and it is still a very important crop in certain areas.”
Mr Holl said PMC had sold 19 machines in 2009 - its best results for a decade. The factory has a turnover of �8m and exports to 40 countries, including Japan and Australia. Pupils from Stibbard All Saints Primary School were invited to the company's Holt Road site to learn about pea harvesting and the benefits of healthy eating.
Robert Plant, is chairman of governors at the school - and also one of the pea harvester's designers. “I think it is good for the town and good for the company that this machinery will be seen by other people so they can learn what's involved in harvesting peas,” he said. “The children have certainly enjoyed coming here and seeing what's going on.”
The harvester, capable of filling three million packs of frozen peas during the seven-week pea season, was built by PMC but is owned by Lincolnshire firm Fen Peas.