Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, (Girlguiding President) is to carry out a number of engagements on the Isle of Wight, when she visits on 13 September .
The Countess will visit Shanklin Chine to commemorate their 200th Anniversary, including viewing an art exhibition celebrating its history and the PLUTO Exhibition. (PLUTO – Pipeline Under the Ocean, was a highly ambitious engineering project that became vital to the success of D-Day.)
Following the visit to Shanklin the Royal Party will then travel to Newport to visit The Earl Mountbatten Hospice in their 35th year and the John Cheverton Centre. This is an opportunity to meet staff and volunteers, (the hospice was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2016) and also view the Chelsea Garden, donated by Greenfinger’s Charity; designed by Matthew Wilson; opened by Alan Titchmarsh and displayed at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015.
Finally, she will visit East Cowes to open the new CECAMM (Centre of Excellence for Composites Advances Manufacturing and Marine) Facility.
This state of the art training facility is sponsored by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with significant collaboration from key local employers, including GKN Aerospace. This is the latest in a series of investments at the Isle of Wight College and recognises the Island as one of the pre-eminent centres for advanced manufacturing in the UK.
Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Martin White CB CBE JP, said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming Her Royal Highness back to the Island and give her the opportunity to see the marvellous work carried out in our community.”
Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council, Councillor Lora Peacey Wilcox, said: “Once again we are delighted to have our Royal Family taking such a keen interest in the achievements of our Island. Her Royal Highness is warmly welcomed back, and it is hoped the diversity of places for her to see will only encourage more visits. We sincerely thank The Countess for coming to our beautiful Island.”
This Royal Visit follows close on the heels of one made by HRH The Princess Royal during Lendy Cowes Week when the princess made a visit to UKSA, Cowes.
Staff, students and ambassadors of UKSA enjoyed another busy Lendy Cowes Week thanks to a visit from the charity’s Patron The Princess Royal, the launch of five dinghies sponsored by local businesses and an afternoon of fun racing with UKSA Ambassadors Helena Lucas MBE and Dee Caffari MBE.
UKSA’s CEO Ben Willow and Chair of Trustees William Garnett welcomed Princess Anne to the maritime training centre and Her Royal Highness enjoyed a tour of the site, viewing the plans for a proposed capital works programme to improve the site for its 10,000 users a year.
UKSA’s staff and students then met with Her Royal Highness and discussed the academy’s charitable work including youth development work, such as the National Citizenship Service (NCS) and the Aberdeen Asset Management Confidence Masterclass, both delivered at UKSA, and met with graduates who have been supported locally by the Royal Yacht Squadron Foundation.
Ben Willows said: “We were delighted to welcome our Patron to UKSA to explain our ambitious plans for the future. We are dedicated to providing our students and the local community with the best possible experience at UKSA. It was a pleasure introducing Her Royal Highness to our staff and students and they all thoroughly enjoyed meeting her.”
Following the Royal Visit the afternoon saw a change in pace as UKSA welcomed local business people, the Isle of Wight’s MP Bob Seely, UKSA Trustees and Ambassadors onto the maritime training centre’s two largest yachts: 65 foot Farrs Albatross and Whirlwind.
Skippering Whirlwind was UKSA Ambassador and graduate Dee Caffari MBE, who welcomed crew including WightAID’s Geoff Underwood and Pete Tyler of Neilson Holidays, who work closely with UKSA to train staff for their watersports and yachting facilities across the Mediterranean.
UKSA Ambassador and Paralympic gold and bronze medallist Helena Lucas MBE welcomed her crew on to Albatross including Red Funnel’s CEO Kevin George, former High Sheriff Claire Locke, Spinlock’s CEO Chris Hill and Tom Horne, grandson of USKA’s founder Noel Lister. Joining them were UKSA Young Ambassadors Perry Anderson and Jacob Fincham, both of whom have trained and now work at UKSA.