Princess Anne has spent the day in Cornwall visiting Truro Cathedral, a cheese factory and a very successful Save the Children charity shop.
The Princess Royal’s first port of call on Thursday was Truro Cathedral where, as patron of the Restorative Justice Council. Here, The Queen’s daughter was recognising restorative practice in Cornwall’s schools, which have been supported by the Cornish social enterprise, RJ Working. Restorative justice brings those harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward.
Representatives of various schools, universities and other organisations had the chance to meet the Princess as she toured an exhibition about restorative practice in Cornwall’s schools hosted at the cathedral.
Speaking at the event, Princess Anne congratulated the schools and other organisations for their commitment to the practice and spoke of the ongoing importance of dealing with conflict and building relationships in schools; she also recognised ten schools who have introduced the Ripple Effect training programme delivered by RJ Working.
Whilst visiting the cathedral, Anne delighted the cathedral’s clergy by choosing to ‘sign a slate’ in support of the Truro Cathedral roof appeal.
The Dean of Truro, The Very Reverend Roger Bush, said: “There is, of course, always a great sense of excitement around royal engagements and this visit was no exception.
“It was a privilege to welcome The Princess Royal, not only to offer our spectacular cathedral as a place where she could engage with the work being carried locally out by the organisation of which she is a patron, but also, by participating in ‘sign-a-slate’, to enable her to learn more about our history and enable her to be part of our story for the future.”
The slate signed by The Princess Royal will join those signed by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2016, and will be laid during the third and final phase of the physical roof works, scheduled for completion in 2020. The £3.2m five-year roof appeal was launched in July 2015 and has so far raised £1.4m, enabling the western arm of the nave, the south aisle western arm, the Baptistry and the south-west porch to be re-slated – 29,000 of the required 60,000 slates have now been replaced.
The Dean continued: “We have been overwhelmed with the level of engagement sign-a-slate has inspired and we extend sincere thanks to everyone that has and continues to support the appeal.
“The cathedral means so much to so many people, and those people have been moved to write messages on the reverse of the new slates for many reasons, from celebrating a good day out or special occasion to remembering loved ones passed.
“Knowing that the messages will become part of the fabric of the building, part of the cathedral’s story is an emotional, spiritual and moving thing. We are very happy that The Princess Royal was able to participate and experience that first-hand.”
Princess Anne then went on to visit The Cornish Cheese Company in Liskeard; they are the makers of award-winning cheese, Cornish Blue.
Cornish Blue, won its first award in 2004 – The Tesco Cheese Challenge – followed soon afterwards with winning Supreme Champion at the Bath and West Show, and in 2010, Cornish Blue became the World Champion Cheese.
The Princess toured the production facility to learn the award-winning cheese making process and spoke to staff members, and of course sampled the wares!
Anne’s final visit of the day was to the Save the Children charity store in Constantine.
It is one of the South West’s smallest and most successful shops, and after several moves, it now occupies a former butcher’s shop and raises around £13,000 a year, plus £5,000 from other activities. Princess Anne is patron of the Save the Children Fund and was keen to find out what makes the Constantine shop so successful.
The branch has more than 70 supporters from the villages of Constantine, Mawnan Smith and Treverva with 27 volunteers working shifts in the shop in Fore Street.
Myra Bennett from the committee said: “It’s all a far cry from the early days when the branch was founded by Mary Hawkins, a former nurse who had worked with refugees and orphanages.”
In 1972, Mary Hawkins founded a Save the Children Branch in Falmouth and on moving to Constantine two years later, started a branch there. For many years it was run from a garage in the village and a seasonal Port Navas shop operated from a lean-to porch in the hamlet.
Chairman Dr Paula Roberts said it was not all plain sailing: “Both shops were dealt a huge blow in 2012 when we lost both premises. Both were up for redevelopment and the future looked insecure.
“But then we had a stroke of luck. The former butcher’s shop in Constantine was vacant and the owner offered it to us for a small rent. We jumped at the chance and we haven’t looked back since.”
The shop is now managed by Sally Coot – a volunteer since 1992 who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in 2016.
Dr Roberts continued: “I’m so proud that our branch, covering these small Cornish villages, is one of the leading fundraisers in the South West – we have such a wonderful team of volunteers and amazingly generous local communities.”
Before departing, the royal presented a long service award to Mrs Coot and unveiled a plaque outside the shop.