Royal visitors to Surrey
Organisations, schools, companies and the military across Surrey have welcomed Royal visitors over the past months.
25 June 2018
Three Surrey-based organisations showcased their work to The Earl of Wessex on one action-packed day in June. At Box Hill School in Mickleham, His Royal Highness met students engaged in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. Box Hill School has been a DofE testing centre for over 50 years and the school was proud to receive a special presentation from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at St James’s Palace in 2012 to mark this milestone. During this visit, The Earl of Wessex opened the new £5m Sports Centre and watched students from across the year groups participating in a variety of activities in the impressive facilities.
Next stop on the Royal tour was at Oakleaf Enterprise in Guildford, where the Royal visitor helped celebrate the 21st anniversary of Oakleaf Enterprise and to raise awareness of the work this registered charity does in the local community to support adults experiencing mental illness. His Royal Highness met with Oakleaf clients who have made – and continue to make – huge progress, and also recognised the valuable contribution made by the Oakleaf volunteers who, in 2017, received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Finally, The Earl of Wessex visited Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership’s Bike Project in Guildford (now also operating in Walton-on-Thames). There, he met with participants in the project and acknowledged the contribution of partner organisations and volunteers. This social enterprise collects unwanted bicycles from the public and other organisations and then provides free skills, accredited training and work experience for local jobseekers and young people to refurbish these bikes. Good quality second-hand bikes are then sold to the local community at an affordable price, to sustain the organisation.
16 May 2018
HRH The Earl of Wessex visited member schools within the Weydon Multi Academy Trust in south-west Surrey to meet Duke of Edinburgh's Award students and those who support them. The Award scheme is recognised by all four schools as key to their students’ development and the Royal visitor was able to witness ‘The DofE Award in action’.
At Weydon School, there is a long and highly successful record of offering students the chance to gain Bronze and Silver level DofE awards. Each year over 200 young people get involved, including those with additional SEND needs. The Ridgeway School caters for students aged 2 to 19 with severe and complex learning difficulties. The school offers a small group of students the opportunity to gain the Bronze award. Farnham Heath End and Woolmer Hill Schools have been working under their own Award Licences for just over a year. While both have faced some challenges when setting up DofE, the hope is that the Earl’s visit will re-energise their resolve to develop a sustainable programme, allowing for significant future growth of DofE in these schools.
20 March 2018
Bells Piece, the Leonard Cheshire Disability home in Farnham that provides a broad range of support services to over 80 adults with learning disabilities, autism or acquired brain injuries was proud to welcome HRH The Countess of Wessex for a visit. She met with staff, volunteers and most importantly residents and those in supported living, and joined-in with others who attend a range of thriving activities and life skills services each week. The Countess also heard about the transition service for young people in supported living that Bells Piece is opening in South Farnham.
20 February 2018
HRH The Duke of Gloucester opened the newly refurbished European headquarters of Cubic Transportation Systems in Salfords, Reigate, where he was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant, who presented Mr Roger Crow, Executive Vice President and Managing Director.The international company is one of Surrey’s leading employers in the science, engineering and technology fields. The Royal visitor was given an overview of Cubic’s business, which includes the provision of all ticketing and revenue management for Transport for London as well as for transport operators and authorities in many major cities around the world. The Duke’s visit concluded with the presentation of CEO Awards to Cubic staff and apprentices.
At Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) at Blindley Heath, His Royal Highness toured the facility before presenting the company with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (International Trade). MRMC has provided motion control robotic solutions to the film and television industries for five decades and won an Academy Award for changing the way Hollywood works – it is the motion control choice for major blockbusters like Star Wars. It has also expanded into industries such as e-commerce, security and broadcast, and been on Wimbledon Centre Court for the last four years, as well as the London, Sochi and Rio Olympic Games.
The Duke also visited North Downs Specialist Referrals in Bletchingley, an internationally acknowledged centre of excellence for Specialist Veterinary Care. Founded in 2005, the hospital currently employs 23 specialist veterinary surgeons and 110 staff and treats in excess of 400 dogs and cats a month referred by GP veterinary surgeons in Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Hampshire. Hospital Director, Terry Emmerson, and his colleagues explained the specialist treatments carried out, including hip replacement, brain surgery, pacemaker placement and cataract surgery as well as a number of procedures only available in a few veterinary hospitals worldwide.
18 October 2017
HRH The Princess Royal visited Royal Holloway, University of London, in her capacity as Chancellor of the University of London, to formally open the new library and student services centre building. Built at a cost of £57 million and with 12.8 kilometres of shelving, the state-of the-art library has been named in honour of one of Britain’s most famous suffragettes (and Royal Holloway alumna) Emily Wilding Davison. At the opening, The Princess Royal also presented students from the Royal Holloway Community Action volunteering scheme with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017 (above left). This award – the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups – recognised the work of some 3,000 volunteering students in helping build strong communities and leading projects to support local organisations.
12 October 2017
To mark the centenary of Holy Cross Hospital, HRH Princess Alexandra opened a new learning and development centre named after St Hugh. This is one of several projects completed to celebrate the 100 years since the Daughters of the Cross established the hospital in Haslemere. Her Royal Highness was introduced to civic dignitaries and spent time talking with the Sisters, senior medical staff, patients and their families, before being invited to unveil a commemorative plaque. In these photographs she is seen (left) being welcomed by CEO, Christopher Hinton, and meeting Sister Veronica; (centre) being briefed by Sister Mary Agnes; and (right) unveiling the plaque.
29 September 2017
Thousands lined the streets of Dorking as a military parade took place, complete with the Band of the Household Cavalry, to salute the staff of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court. The Centre closes in 2018 and moves to a much larger site, with state-of-the-art facilities, in Leicestershire. HRH The Countess of Wessex attended the Service of Thanksgiving at St Martin’s Church, then joined the March along Dorking High Street, before taking the Royal Salute. Headley Court has helped thousands of injured servicemen and women to recover from devastating combat injuries, both physical and mental. In his address, HM Lord-Lieutenant, Michael More-Molyneux said: “We thank all the regular staff and volunteers for their commitment to so many people. The veterans who are with us today remind us of their bravery in fighting for our country to keep us safe and free. Surrey is proud to have been home to the DMRC for 70 years.”
12 September 2017
HRH The Duke of Cambridge visited the McLaren Technology Centre outside Woking, home to the innovation, development and production of McLaren’s road cars. The Duke was welcomed by McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt, and met the team responsible for creating some of the world's most pioneering sports and supercars. He heard about the evolution of McLaren vehicles over the decades before visiting the factory floor of the McLaren Production Centre, where he met the world-class designers, engineers, and technicians. The Duke was also introduced to some of the company's apprentices, and spoke to female employees – McLaren has a track-record of opening up the industry to women. At the end of his tour, The Duke christened one of the latest McLaren models, fixing a McLaren badge to it.
23 February 2017
HRH The Earl of Wessex visited four Surrey organisations on one day, starting with the Leatherhead Youth Project (LYP) and the Community Foundation for Surrey to hear more about the work undertaken by both organisations. LYP hosted the event at All Saints Church in Leatherhead, where The Earl met young people and staff linked to the Project, including those who attend the BFree after school drop-in hub, and students who benefit from LYP one to one mentoring. HRH was taught how to make coffee by the Allsaints Coffee Shop team, a group of young apprentices who run the LYP on-site social enterprise. Community Foundation for Surrey staff, trustees, donors – and groups supported by the Foundation – were also presented to The Earl of Wessex. By working with donors who want to give back to their local communities, the Community Foundation awards grants to disadvantaged individuals and voluntary groups that provide vital services for people in need – over £1 million was distributed to local communities in 2015-2016 alone.
Next on The Earl’s itinerary was a visit to the GASP Motor Project Workshop at Albury, where young people from across the social divide take part in programmes of basic engineering and motor mechanics in ways that re-engage them with learning. He met the GASP team – staff, volunteers and Board trustees and advisers – together with stakeholders and funders. But mostly, he talked with students from St Peter’s School in Guildford and Woking High School working on four-stroke engines; girls and boys from Bishop David Brown at Sheerwater, gaining workplace experience in the GASP Industry-Linked programme with Stanhope-Seta at Chertsey and Woking Community Transport; and pupils from Broadwater School at Godalming and its COIN Centre, where sessions have been delivered by the charity’s Mobile Unit. Six enthusiastic young people who regularly attend the GASP evening programme in their free time talked HRH through the electric kit cars they have built and raced – at Goodwood and Dunsfold – over the past year. And HRH met GASP alumni now embarking on apprenticeships, university and college courses, thanks to what they have learnt with GASP.
From there, the roar of the greasepaint beckoned at the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre in Guildford, where The Earl watched an excerpt of Guildford School of Acting’s current main stage production of Guys and Dolls. He also received a tour of the set for Roald Dahl’s The Witches in the Mill Studio and met the young cast and youth theatre team. In a busy visit schedule, HRH observed the youth theatre working with students from King’s College, Guildford on a project to create a piece of theatre about the perceptions and reality of their locality, which will go on tour. Later, he learnt about the Guildford Aspire project, a Guildford Borough Council initiative to involve the Youth Theatre in deprived areas of the borough in ways that promote the belief that ‘every person matters’.
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