Princess enjoys sunny Suffolk visit

THRILLED schoolchildren found out what it was like to meet a real-life princess yesterday.Boys and girls from Hollesley Primary School gave the Princess Royal a rousing welcome as she visited the Suffolk Punch Trust's stud farm in the village, near Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

THRILLED schoolchildren found out what it was like to meet a real-life princess yesterday.

Boys and girls from Hollesley Primary School gave the Princess Royal a rousing welcome as she visited the Suffolk Punch Trust's stud farm in the village, near Woodbridge.

She also visited Aldeburgh and Lowestoft during a four-hour visit bathed in glorious spring sunshine.

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The Princess was presented with a picture of a rabbit by Lydia Bridgeman, five, and a bouquet of flowers from four-year-old Laura Towler at the stud farm.

She was also briefed on the plans to build an education and heritage centre at the farm, formerly owned by the Prison Service, and she admired the Suffolk Punch horses, a Red Poll cow and Suffolk Sheep.

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Philip Ryder-Davies, chairman of the trust, said the visit gave the trust an ideal opportunity to thank the Princess Royal personally for the “considerable support and encouragement she has given and continues to give the trust”.

He said: “This is a challenging project but when it is completed it will bring real educational benefits and considerable enjoyment to a very large number of people.''

Richard Butler, a trustee, added: “The visit ties in with the excellent and continuing work the Princess Royal does as royal patron of the Butler Trust.”

Guests included Andrew Parker-Bowles, chairman of the Retraining of Racehorses Project, which is housing horses that need rehabilitation at Hollesley.

In Aldeburgh, the Princess officially opened the new community centre. This was the town's millennium project and it is housed inside a converted electricity generator building next to King's Field.

Hugo Herbert-Jones, chairman of Aldeburgh Community and Sports Trust, told the Princess: “It is a great honour to welcome you here to set the Royal seal on the building of the community centre for which we have worked so long and hard.

“This building is so much part of Aldeburgh's history and now it has been born again after neglect.”

The Princess was presented with a posy by Megan Sheppard and Luis Wood, both aged seven, before unveiling a plaque. She said: “I congratulate everyone. This has taken a lot of hard work and discussions and, as a form of recycling. I hope you are very proud of yourselves.”

The guests included volunteers who had renovated the building, the RNLI, fire service, HM Coastguard, Community Responders, town councillors and representatives of the Royal Antidiluvian Order of Buffalos.

Users of the building, including keep-fit enthusiasts and the Pilates group, attended the opening and the Princess met primary school children who were making Easter cards, painting eggs and arranging flowers.

In Lowestoft, the Princess officially marked the end of the £14.7m four-year Sunrise Scheme, which has dramatically transformed the town centre, seafront and south Lowestoft areas.

One of the highlights of the Princess's day was her visit to the distinctive seafront fountains where she and hundreds of onlookers were treated to a two-minute musical fountain display.

Star of the show was also nine-year-old Ellouise Moss, who presented a posy of flowers to Princess Anne at the fountains

Ellouise, daughter of Sunrise manager Paul Moss, said: “It was really nice because I've never met Royalty before. When I found out I was really excited, but I was nervous I would mess it up. I very, very much enjoyed the day.”

The Princess Royal was greeted by a number of dignitaries, but also spent time talking to crowds of onlookers by the town's sun-baked seafront before officially naming the attraction The Royal Plain Fountains.

She was also taken into the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club to view an exhibition of past and present photographs of the Sunrise area and to meet assembled guests who have been involved in the scheme.

Before she left she received a gift of a presentational plaque from Sally Rivett and Helen Thrower, of Lowestoft Porcelain, to mark their 250th anniversary.

The Princess began her visit to the town at the Aspire business centre, in the grounds of the Denes High School, in Yarmouth Road.

As well as officially opening the centre, she observed a business workshop session with a group of sixth-formers and members of starter businesses based there.

She said: “For all of those involved, I give my congratulations. It is an original concept to have a centre like this. For those of you coming to the end of school and looking at your career alternative, this might make the bridging process much easier.”

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