A striking exhibition showcasing the best of Herefordshire was opened in Brussels last night (Tues) in the heart of the European Parliament.

The exhibition, which runs all week, was organised by West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre, to highlight Herefordshire's strengths in produce, business, culture and tourism.

The display, which included cutting edge video as well as such diverse exhibits as Herefordshire hops, the hide of a Herefordshire steer and a sample of the county's rich red soil, was designed by a team of students from Hereford College of Art.

They travelled to Brussels to install the exhibition in one of the parliament building's busiest areas.

Miss McIntyre said: "Herefordshire is the perfect place to invest, do business, to holiday or to source the finest goods and foodstuffs.

"We are taking the opportunity, while it is still there, to create a shop window for all that Herefordshire has to offer - right here in the heart of the EU.

"We will continue to trade with the whole world -  and the EU will continue to be a major market.

"Our art college students have produced a stunning exhibition and we have a prime spot. We will be seen by commissioners, officials, MEPs and diplomats - plus hundreds of other Europeans visiting the parliament.

"They are coming to visit us  - and they are taking our food, crafts and products to their hearts."

Abigail Appleton, principal of Hereford College of Art, said:  "I'm thrilled that students and staff have thrown themselves into this project and that Anthea McIntyre and the Herefordshire business community are supporting their bold creative approach. The arts and business are deeply intertwined, and we share a common ambition to promote our remarkable region to the world."

Other dignitaries who spoke at the opening included Rainer Wieland MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Nat Hone, High Sheriff of Herefordshire; 
and Brian Wilcox, Chairman of Herefordshire Council.

David Harlow, the council's cabinet member for economy and communications, spoke about the range of business and investment opportunities in the county.

Deputy Lieutenant Jo Hilditch, of Herefordshire cassis company White Heron Drinks, outlined the county's star products and produce, while Deputy Lieutenant James Hervey-Bathurst, of Eastnor Castle and Estate, highlighted its draw as a tourist destination.