Anne opens superhub in Burton & unveils monument at National Memorial Arboretum

Princess Anne paid a visit to the Midlands yesterday, and her first stop was opening the new Palletforce ‘superhub’ in Burton-upon-Trent.

The new superhub cost £50 million to build and is expected to create 70 new jobs in the town. The Princess Royal previously visited the site eight years ago to open the original distribution centre, when the company employed 80 people.  In that time, Palletforce has expanded rapidly and now employs over 400 people. The superhub is part of a £65 million investment in the business by EmergeVest, who bought the company in 2015.

Anne was greeted by Ian Dudson, Lord Lieutenant, and the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, Humphrey Scott-Moncrieff. The Queen’s only daughter was then taken on a tour of the 620,000 sqft facility, which has the capacity to process 30,000 pallets every night.  The new distribution hub has been custom built for Palletforce and is the largest of its type in Europe.

Princess Anne was then introduced to the company’s CEO, Michael Conroy, and the chairman of the Palletforce Advisory Committee, John Brotherton.

Michael Conroy said of the royal visit: “It was, as always, a fantastic day. Princess Anne was really good and on form.  She is a knowledgeable lady who knows about many things. She certainly knew what we do. She spent a lot of time with people and she was really interested in the academy and the young people of Burton working for us. We touched on our success in Europe and our opening in China; she had a really keen interest.  It was an excellent day for Palletforce’s staff and members.”

To complete the official opening of the superhub, the Princess then unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion. She was also given a small model of one of the company’s trucks.

Anne then travelled to Alrewas to unveil a new memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.  The Arboretum is part of the Royal British Legion charity family, and is a place of year-round remembrance for those who have served Great Britain.

princess anne at the national memorial arboretum (nma)

The memorial is dedicated to members of the Townswomen’s Guild who have been wounded or lost their lives in conflict.  Princess Anne is patron of the Guild, which encourages women to have ideas and views, develop new skills, campaign on various issues, support each other, make new friends and above all, have fun. and has attended many of the organisation’s events throughout the years. Today’s dedication ceremony was attended by members of the Guild.


The Guild held coffee mornings and other initiatives in order to raise the £15,000 used to create the sculpture.

Chairman of the Townswomen’s Guild, Jenny Rideout, said: “So many of our members responded enthusiastically to this project. As mothers, wives and daughters, Townswomen have been affected by conflict through the ages.

the princess royal unveils a memorial for the townswomen’s guild (nma)

“Our memorial is in remembrance of parents, spouses and children who have died or been wounded while on active service in conflicts worldwide. The memorial will also commemorate those civilians who have died or suffered as a result of conflict.  The project has its genesis in 2015, and Townswomen’s Guild involvement with First World War commemorations.

“We were delighted to be invited to become involved with the National Memorial Arboretum, alongside so many other prominent national organisations.”

In addition to unveiling the statue, Princess Anne also spoke with members of the Guild and signed the Arboretum’s visitor book.

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