On Thursday 15 December, Princess Anne was in Lincolnshire to officially mark the reopening of a restored Boston Stump church devastated by floods in 2013 when the banks of the River Haven burst.
The flood on 5 December 2013 affected 700 properties and businesses on 50 streets in the town and the church was flooded by two feet of water, which took several months to dry out, and is believed to have caused approximately £1 million worth of damage.
The church was re-opened in February of this year after a period of closure in which improvement works (including lifting the floor in places to fit new pipework) and the installation of a new boiler house took place.
The Princess Royal’s arrival was greeted by a peel of bells and cheers from the assembled crowd – some of whom who had been waiting for hours to see the royal visitor – as she arrived at the church via Wormgate.
One local resident spoke to the press saying, ‘Princess Anne does a lot of good for Boston and Boston Stump…I always come out and see her when she’s here, and she seems to be here quite regularly now.’
Princess Anne was met by Toby Dennis, the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire and after opening the church’s new boiler house she attended a reception with the Reverend Alyson Bucton, church wardens, the ministry and specially invited guests.
Princess Anne has become a regular royal visitor to Lincolnshire having visited St Botolph’s Church in June 2015 to take place in a service for the restored Cotton Chapel which is dedicated to Rev John Cotton. The once vicar of St Botolph’s travelled to America in 1633 and was one of the group of settlers who established Boston, Massachusetts. She also saw the proposed location of the new boiler house during this visit and the work to restore the Australian Memorial which honours early Australian explorers who came from the Boston area.
She was back at the church again in March of 2016 to attend a service of dedication to mark the restoration.