Looking Back: Royal guest flies in
This week’s Looking Back recalls a visit that marked a special anniversary. Back in 2005 the Wessex Walkers were celebrating their 40th anniversary and they received the congratulations of a very special guest.
The Wells Journal of October 13 reported:
Princess Anne flew into Wells this week to celebrate 40 years of the Wessex Walks.
The helicopter landed in the Palace Fields, next to the Bishop’s Palace, and from there the princess was driven around the moat to the palace where the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Lady Gass, presented the chairman of Somerset County Council, Alan Gloak, his sister and consort, Jill Gloak, the chairman of Mendip District Council, Bill MacKay and Mrs MacKay, the chief executive of Mendip District Council, David Thomson, the Mayor of Wells, Norman Kennedy, and his wife Carol, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Peter Price, and president of the Wells branch of Save the Children Fund, Dee Price.
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Meanwhile, groups of volunteers gathered expectantly in the Henderson Conference Room, waiting for her arrival.
Princess Anne then unveiled a plaque to open the conference room before speaking to the assembled crowds.
She said: “I came here today to have the opportunity to say thank you to all of you for the 40 years you have given, and not just the effort that you put in but your commitment to Save the Children Fund.
“I was always impressed that you managed to generate so much enthusiasm among the younger generation and that is down to the hard work between the walks promoting Save the Children Fund.
“Every pound makes a difference and what you have achieved during the years, not just in terms of money but also commitment, makes a difference. Millions of children have benefited from your support.
“Thank you for all your hard work.”
The princess presented two Princess Royal Awards in recognition of support for Wessex Walks.
Wells Cathedral School was one of the recipients.
The award was accepted by headmistress Elizabeth Cairncross and pupils Megan Corp, aged 16, and Joe Arnold, 15.
Megan has been taking part in the Wessex Walks since she was four, while Joe has been involved for the last seven years. Between them they have raised almost £1,000.
After the presentation the Princess cut a 40th birthday celebration cake.
Then the Save the Children Fund volunteers had an opportunity to meet the princess.
When she had spoken to all the volunteers from Wells, Salisbury and Winchester the Princess Royal was escorted out of the palace by the bishop and his wife before driving back to the helicopter and flying into the distance.