The Princess Royal this morning met local people who, 40 years ago, rolled up their sleeves and helped restore the Caen Hill locks in Devizes.

The Princess arrived at the Town Bridge and boarded the Kenavon Venture canal boat for the short trip to the Wharf.

There she was introduced to the Caen Hill volunteers who are celebrating 40 years since they started their task which culminated in The Queen reopening the canal in 1990.

Peter Potter, of Victoria Road, said: "She was brilliant. She really knew her subject and talked about the canal restoration work in the Cotswolds.

"It was just like chatting with your auntie."

The princess also met members of Devizes Canoe club, volunteers from Crofton pumping station before handing over the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to David Bruce, president of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust.

Earlier the Princess Royal met the cream of Melksham’s business community when she presented a local dairy exporter with its third royal award.

Princess Anne was visiting to present Coombe Castle with the Queen’s Award for International Trade, and to officially open the firm’s new headquarters.

She was shown around The Creamery, the company’s new base at the former Falcon Interiors site in Western Way, visiting the production line, meeting employees and venturing into the four degree- chilled storage room.

She then presented the award to company chairman Glyn Woolley, who founded the firm in Corsham in 1980.

She said: “It is always a pleasure to be allowed to present the Queen’s Award.

"Winning it once is impressive, but winning three is a real achievement, and something tells me you may be adding to your collection again in the future.”

The Princess, whose son-in-law Mike Tindall plays for Gloucester Rugby, was presented with a selection of the firm’s cheeses and creams, and a teddy bear in Bath Rugby colours, to which she joked: “I might have to take that off.”

She was welcomed to The Creamery by town mayor Chris Petty, Duncan Hames MP, newly-appointed High Sheriff of Wiltshire Peter Addington and Sarah Troughton, the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire.

Mr Woolley said: “I feel very honoured that she came here. I wrote to her personally, and I’m very glad we were able to book a royal.

“We moved here last year, and we were able to combine two warehouses and all our staff into one place.

"There’s plenty of space to expand here, and we’re always looking to expand into new products, so who knows what we will do next?”

The firm exports British and Irish dairy products to 35 different countries, with many of its creams produced on-site in Melksham.

Mr Woolley said: “People trust British products, that’s our biggest claim internationally.

“I only work three days a week now. I’m standing down soon so I’m focused on grooming a team who will be capable of taking the company into the next 30 years.”