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Princess Anne opens Student Central building at Huddersfield University

The Princess Royal visited Huddersfield University on Friday to officially open the new £22.5m Student Central building.

Introduced by the University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, Princess Anne met with fashion and textile undergraduates before being given a guided tour of the new facilities, designed as a space in which students can study, eat and relax.

The development has a sports hall which seats up to 800 people and can be turned into an exam room or meeting venue. Alongside a fully equipped fitness suite, squash courts and a dance studio, the building also houses a variety of food and drink outlets.

Unveiling a ceremonial plaque, Princess Anne referenced her previous visit to the University less than a year ago, focusing on science and technology and increasing the amount of women studying subjects in these fields.

The Princess Royal took the fashion and textile industries as the focus of Friday’s visit and spoke to a number of students in the final stages of their fashion and textile degree programmes.

Eight undergraduates displayed their work in the upper floors of the new Student Central building and spoke with The Princess Royal at length about their sources of inspiration and the techniques used in their pieces.

One student, Cara Mellor, spent time with two Melbourne design companies and said her choice of fabrics was inspired by Australia’s ocean flora. Another student, Danielle Souter, spoke about the woven textiles in her pieces which aimed to evoke the imagery of her hometown of Grimsby.

Dr Kevin Almond, the University’s Head of Fashion and Textiles and Senior Lecturer Nicola Redmore, Subject Leader for Textiles, accompanied The Princess as she viewed the works and learned of the various work placements that students at the University had undertaken. One, April Lyons, spent time in Vermont in the United States, teaching young children how to weave.

The Princess also spoke to a variety of teams and departments whist touring the new building including the Sport and Fitness Department, the University Employability and Careers Service and the Wellbeing and Disability Service.

Unveiling a ceremonial plaque in honour of the visit, Her Royal Highness paid tribute to the University’s achievements and defined the new development as “remarkable,” adding:

“It’s a really good example of what can be achieved by understanding students and the way you need to work together as a team.

“It is building on strengths with what was here in Huddersfield before and, hopefully, it will take you a long way.”

The University has enjoyed a host of recent successes, being named as ‘University of the Year’ at the 2014 Times Higher Education Awards and ranking as fifth in the world for Student Experience according to one international survey.

Founded in 1825, the University is no stranger to Royal connections. Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, is the University’s Patron and has been at the forefront of the institution’s drive for entrepreneurship and development of young people’s skills.

In 2014, The Duke presented the Duke of York young Entrepreneur Awards at the University, to mark the success of ten respective start-up businesses. The businesses were created and pioneered by young entrepreneurs, chosen to represent each of the ten universities in Yorkshire.

Featured Image Credit: NHC_UHI

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