The Princess Royal flew into Trowbridge on today to officially open Dorothy House’s new outreach centre in the town.

The Winsley-based hospice has opened the outreach centre in Bryer Ash Business Park in August as an informal place for meetings, workshops, group sessions and for people to drop in and seek help and advice.

As the charity’s Royal Visitor, the Princess Royal was asked to make the opening official by taking a tour of the building and unveiling a plaque.

She flew by helicopter into the town at 1.55pm, landing in Stallard Recreation Ground before being whisked around the corner to the centre to meet staff, patients, carers and their families.

After a tour of the premises which she spent happily chatting to people, the princess unveiled the emerald green plaque which had been hand made by patients of the hospice.

During the unveiling the princess said she hoped the centre would become an important part of Dorothy House in its own right, and paid tribute to the hard work of the staff and in particular the chief executive Sarah Whitfield who retires next month.

She was also presented with a posy of flowers by Imogen Russell, five, from Batheaston, whose father Mark has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Imogen and her three-year-old brother Ben have been visiting the Winsley Hospice to take part in arts sessions.

Her mother Michelle said: “She’s been hugely excited, although we had to tell her not to expect Princess Anne to be wearing a tiara. She’s told everyone at school and it’s been lovely choosing her dress.

“We’re very proud to see her do it. It’s a good memory.”

Among those she met during the visit were fundraising team Brenda Abbott and Anne Peirce, who between them have raised £270,000 in more than 25 years.

Mrs Abbott, from Atworth, said: “We were so honoured to be asked. She was interested in what we do and obviously we told her it wasn’t just us, there’s a team behind us. She was so very very pleasant and nice.

“It’s wonderful for this side of town, it’s lovely for them to get some kind help and advice and for people to be here for them.”

Anne Peirce, who lives in Trowbridge, said: “She was very knowledgeable and very nice. She’s so relaxed and natural you feel at ease with her.
“Personally I think it’s great because it will make people aware and know about this place.”

Mrs Peirce added that the duo now had the £300,000 milestone fixed in their minds.

The princess flew out at 3.05pm, having stayed around 20 minutes longer than originally planned.