Princess Anne was surprised and delighted by the welcome committee she received on a trip to Macclesfield on Monday. She was visiting the town to officially open the Fermain Academy, which started teaching its first group of pupils last September. The Academy takes pupils from Macclesfield and East Cheshire, who have been identified as having behavioural or attendance problems and strives to create in them a love for learning. Through a bespoke programme they strive to support, raise and engage the aspirations of their pupils.
However, it was some pupils and the headmaster from the King’s School who greeted the Princess as she landed in a helicopter on the school’s Westminster Road playing field. One of the pupils, Kate Marsh, who met the 66 year-old Princess said: “She said that she was surprised anyone had turned up to meet her during half-term and she hoped my hair hadn’t been ruined by the helicopter. I told her not to worry about my hair I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity. It was a real honour and it was wonderful to see someone of such standing taking such an interest in the local community.”
Another pupil, Michael Abrahamse added: “She is so hard working. She had three official functions for Monday, and apparently maintains that level of work day in day out, and what concerned her most was hairstyles. It was a lovely moment for us all.” As Michael said, after officially opening the Academy, Princess Anne flew from the field to Crewe and Batley where she undertook a couple of factory visits.
It was the third time that the playing field had provided a landing spot for a Royal helicopter. In the last decade Princess Anne, and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex have landed on what is usually sports pitches whilst attending official engagements in the area. I am lucky enough to have been in a welcoming party for Princess Anne on another of her busy days of engagements. However, she was a marvellously welcoming and relaxing lady, like those pupils I will also treasure the day I met the Princess.