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Princess in flying visit to Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 10:34 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:28 03 July 2010

THE Princess Royal enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of Norfolk yesterday to witness the work of several charities and delight visitors to a new library.

First on the royal itinerary was the Dogs Trust re-homing centre, in Snetterton, where a group of girls from Norwich's Thorpe House School waited outside while the princess's helicopter circled overhead.

THE Princess Royal enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of Norfolk yesterday to witness the work of several charities and delight visitors to a new library.

First on the royal itinerary was the Dogs Trust re-homing centre, in Snetterton, where a group of girls from Norwich's Thorpe House School waited outside while the princess's helicopter circled overhead.

It was not her first visit to the Norfolk kennels as she officially opened it eight years ago and was making a return visit to see how things had progressed.

Centre manager Dianne McLelland-Taylor, who conducted the princess's tour, said: “We were lucky enough that Her Royal Highness opened the centre in 2001. She was in Norfolk and she was interested to see what had changed in that time.”

The princess was shown around the original building, including the glass-fronted kennels where dogs that are ready to be re-homed are kept. One of the dogs, a five year-old Dalmatian called Rudy, took a particular liking to her as the entourage walked past the kennels.

“Rudy obviously recognised the princess and wanted to meet her,” added Diane.

The tour continued to the newer areas of the centre, such as the recently completed and individually themed kennels. One is a seaside kennel with a sandpit, another has a built-in maze and a third, called home comforts, even has its own fireplace.

At the end of the tour the Princess Royal met trustees and staff, finding time to talk to Kirsty Grint, a volunteer at the centre.

“I told her that I did the dog grooming and have done for nearly two years. I would like to run my own dog grooming salon. She's so down to Earth,” said Kirsty.

At a presentation, the princess was given a dog basket and cushions embroidered with the names of her own dogs, Agatha and Dottie.

The Dogs Trust centre has re-homed more than 4,300 dogs since it was opened and looks after about 80 animals at any one time. The number of abandoned dogs has increased in recent months because of the credit crunch, as owners are unable to afford to feed them.

Later in the day the Princess Royal visited Norfolk Constabulary headquarters to see how the force engages with children and young people.

Several representatives from youth organisations who work with the Constabulary displayed exhibits for the Princess to see.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Learmonth said: “I am honoured to have welcomed the Princess Royal to Norfolk Constabulary headquarters.

“I am especially proud that the Princess was able to see the work the Constabulary and partner agencies are involved in and to showcase the way we engage with young people.”

As part of the wider policing work, The Princess Royal was given a demonstration of the police dogs and shown how they are used in policing operations.

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