The wife of a former councillor has told of the moment she met Princess Diana when the royal visited South Derbyshire back in 1991.

As the wife of Mike Lacey, who was a councillor at the time, Joy Lacey was one of a few who was invited to a civic reception hosted by South Derbyshire District Council to celebrate Princess Diana's visit to the town. Mrs Lacey is one of only a handful of people who still owns a rare commemorative bowl which was made celebrate the visit.

Limited edition Mason Cash and Co souvenir bowls were handed out at the reception and Mrs Lacey still proud displays hers at home in Newhall.

She said: "Mike was serving on the district council at the time and as we were invited to the civic reception, we received one of the bowls. We know Princess Diana ordered some pottery engraved with her sons' names on them when she visited.

"In fact, we actually said at the time, as we ran a haulage company, we would be delivering the pottery to Kensington Palace - and we did. Because they had the princes names on, they had to be specially made and were sent three weeks later. Princess Diana was lovely."

The Diana Memorial Garden
John Perks - Owner and MD of Mason Cash, Frank McArdleCheif Executive of South Derbyshire District Council and Richard Shaw at the construction area, that will be the new Princess Diana Memorial Garden.
Pictured at the Diana Memorial Garden is John Perks, managing director of Mason Cash, Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council and Richard Shaw at the construction area, that will be the new Princess Diana Memorial Garden.

When the princess visited Swadlincote in 1991 she also spent time at Gresley Old Hall to inspect the new bowling green. It was here she met John Perks, the-then managing director of Mason Cash, in Pool Street, Church Gresley.

Local potter Mr Perks was asked to produce 260 souvenir bowls for South Derbyshire District Council to present to guests at the civic reception.

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Last month, on the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death Mr Perks reminisced about meeting the princess where both himself and Frank McArdle, now chief executive of the district council, shared a joke with her.

Mr Perks said Mason Cash had been asked to make the commemorative pots which was a small white dish with a logo inside commemorating the occasion. One was given as a gift to everyone who attended the civic reception.

One was also presented to the princess who a joked that she was disappointed she didn't have one for her sons or Princess Charles.

Mason and Cash and Co made a range of earthenware and stoneware and kitchenware including mixing bowls, pudding basins and pet ware. The firm is probably best-known for its range of Cane Bowls and is now part of the Rayware Group.

Mason Cash had been producing mixing bowls during the 1800s, but in 1901 they designed and manufactured the very first iconic Mason Cash Cane mixing bowl. In 2006, production in South Derbyshire stopped, with the machinery was moved to Portugal where production continues. In 2007 Rayware Group acquired the Mason Cash brand and its sister brand TG Green was acquired by Charles Rickard and Paul Burston and relaunched.

One of the bowls is also on sale at online auction site eBay for £29.99.

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