PRINCE Charles chatted and joked with mill workers and greeted crowds of beaming well-wishers on a visit to the district today.

The Prince of Wales was given a tour of Abraham Moon & Sons' base in Guiseley where he was greeted warmly by the company's management, representatives from the Campaign for Wool - which he started in 2010 - and a line-up of staff.

A group of residents with balloons and flags gathered opposite the mill's main entrance on Netherfield Road to cheer on the royal visitor, too.

And pop royalty was also present at the business, in the form of Blur bass player and Campaign for Wool supporter Alex James. One of the princes of Britpop in the 1990s, James used the opportunity to promote the campaign's work.

Prince Charles was given a full tour of the historic company, which was established in 1837, during which he stopped frequently to talk to a number of the 230-strong workforce.

Abraham Moon & Sons' managing director, John Walsh, said: "It's been a brilliant day, fantastic, and a great honour.

"Prince Charles is the Campaign for Wool's patron and they were organising a visit to Yorkshire and chose us, hopefully, because they recognised us as the premier wool manufacturer in the region.

"We're also a fully vertical mill and have 230 people here, so there was plenty for him to see.

"It has been a great occasion and put a smile on a lot of people's faces."

The Guiseley site is the last mill where raw wool is turned into finished fabric in England. Its customers include Laura Ashley, Marks & Spencer and Prince Charles' own fundraising Highgrove Shop.

Weaving shed manager Nick Kane was among the staff who enjoyed a chat with the Prince, while giving him an up-close look at a weaving machine.

"He asked me how long I've worked here, which is 32 years, and looked at me a bit funny when I said that, as if I was too young," Mr Kane said.

"I told him. 'I know I don't look it, do I?' and he joked back, 'well, you do have a few grey hairs!'

"He was also asking about the reliability of the machines, which we have running from 6am through to 10pm five days a week.

"It was good to see him. People have been excited about the visit because for most of us it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"It's also a really positive thing for the company and the area."

Another employee who also met the prince was Sylvia Schofield, a veteran of the mending department.

"It was lovely," she said.

"He asked about my job, which I've been doing here for 39 years and have seen a lot of changes.

"I was a bit nervous about meeting Prince Charles but he was very relaxed and immediately put me at my ease."

Prince Charles was presented with gifts including some Commonwealth Tweed - made from 'Commonwealth Wool' from four different countries - before parting to a round of applause.

The visit was one of six Prince Charles was making today, including HMP Leeds Prison, a farm shop in Leyburn and Wensleydale Creamery.