Family firm welcomes a royal visitor to mark milestone

PUBLISHED: 07:50 30 September 2019

Princess Anne visited Geoffrey Parker Games in Wimbish. Picture: MILLIE BURKE

Princess Anne visited Geoffrey Parker Games in Wimbish. Picture: MILLIE BURKE

Millie Burke

The craftsmanship of staff at Wimbish firm Geoffrey Parker Games was celebrated during a visit by the Princess Royal.

Princess Anne visited Geoffrey Parker Games in Wimbish. Picture: MILLIE BURKEPrincess Anne visited Geoffrey Parker Games in Wimbish. Picture: MILLIE BURKE

The family business, which was founded in 1958, specialises in making luxury board games and welcomed Princess Anne to its premises on September 23.

Founded by Geoffrey Parker, the business has a long history making some of the world's finest board games for celebrities and public figures and continues to be run by the Parker family from the same location in Wimbish.

"The royal visit celebrated our staff, their dedication to the industry, our company, and shone a light on the incredible craftsmanship industry which still exists in England today," said Elliot Parker, sales director

Princess Anne arrived by helicopter at the Wimbish recreational ground, where she was greeted by Vincent Thompson, the vice Lord-Lieutenant of Essex, and escorted through the village by police before arriving at Geoffrey Parker.

Princess Anne visited Geoffrey Parker Games in Wimbish. Picture: MILLIE BURKEPrincess Anne visited Geoffrey Parker Games in Wimbish. Picture: MILLIE BURKE

She was greeted by chief executive Max Parker, his wife Chrissie Parker, director Elliot Parker and his partner and marketing manager Millie Burke.

The princess was then taken for a private lunch before being introduced to local dignitaries including the chairman of Uttlesford District Council, Councillor Roger Freeman, and Councillor Ted Browne, chairman of Wimbish Parish Council.

Following lunch, the princess was given a tour of the premises before meeting members of staff where each demonstrated the unique inlaying skills, which Geoffrey Parker is famous for.

Inlaying is a technique used by the craftsmen on almost all of the products they create; it involves removing sections of leather and perfectly replacing them with another piece of leather in a different colour. The join must be seamless, especially in backgammon, which requires a smooth playing surface at championship level.

During the demonstration, the princess was also shown embossing, stitching and splitting of the specialist leather used at Geoffrey Parker.

Following the demonstrations, the princess visited the showroom with Max Parker, where the company displays examples of finished products and projects from the archives.

Finally, the royal visitor was shown the firm's new workshop facilities designed to help it continue to expand with the growing demand for traditional games and luxury gifts. She unveiled a plaque and signed the visitor's book before taking her leave with a police escort back to her waiting helicopter.

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