Camilla set to visit Bowood

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lady Lansdowne ensures the Bowood decorations are fit for a Duchess as she prepares to welcome Camilla to the Christmas Extravanganza Lady Lansdowne ensures the Bowood decorations are fit for a Duchess as she prepares to welcome Camilla to the Christmas Extravanganza

The Duchess of Cornwall is set to pay a special visit to Bowood for Lady Lans-downe’s first Christmas Extravaganza.

The event began Wednesday and runs until Friday, and is in aid of the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust.

Camilla will visit as the charity’s patron on the last day of the event to join visitors for a spot of Christmas shopping.

More than 50 stalls selling up-market items will be spread throughout Bowood House, from the sculpture gallery to the orangery and beyond.

Guest appearances by five well-known cooks have been lined up, starting with Josceline Dimbleby on Wednesday and ending with Tom Parker-Bowles on Friday.

This is the first time Lady Lansdowne has opened her home to the public at Christmas and she has been planning the event since August.

The Marchioness has organised many of the decorations, including an 18 foot tree in the library, which comes from the estate, and is covered in more than 1,000 Christmas lights.

She said: “Because we had a pretty bad summer with the weather, visitor numbers were down and I thought it would be nice to do something over the winter to boost interest in Bowood.

“We’re just using all the things we would normally use with our tree, what’s normally very private we’re letting people have a sneaky look at.

“You’re always worried when you do things for the first time that it will work but I’ve had a lot of help from all the lovely volunteers at the Bobby Van Trust.”

The trust provides a free service for elderly and vulnerable people throughout the county and it has already benefitted from money raised at Bowood’s annual dog show.

Staff from the charity visit people at risk of house crime, hate crime or domestic violence and fit security equipment to make sure they are kept safe.

Jenny Shaw has been fund-raising director for the trust for six years.

She said she was extremely grateful for the continued support of Lady Lansdowne and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Ms Shaw said: “Once Camilla puts a name to anything everyone wants to be involved.

“She is so very supportive, she’s always looking for updates about the charity and it’s a super morale booster for the team.

“Lansdowne is very hands on, she does get very involved which is great fun.

“I’m very excited, the house is beautifully decorated – it’s all ready for Christmas.”

Yesterday there was a ticketed preview from 4-8pm, when singers from the Chapel Choir, Pinewood School, and the Sarsen Songmen performed in the family’s private chapel.

The event will run from 10am-5pm today and tomorrow, with an entrance price on the door of £8 per person.

To book a ticket, call (01249) 822422 or visit www.bowood-house.co.uk/events

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