On Thursday, The Earl of Wessex spent the day in Norfolk, where he visited three locations highlighting the educational role played by the Diocese of Norwich.
The Church of England Diocese of Norwich works to support churches, schools and other communities in Norfolk and Waveney. His Royal Highness’ visit to see the work of the Diocese came after he was invited to do so by the Lord Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Reverand Graham James.
In the morning, Prince Edward went to the Horstead Centre in North Norfolk. The Centre focuses on outdoor pursuits, and offers activities, recreation and residential facilities, for schools and youth group in the county. The Prince met with the High Sheriff of Norfolk, Lady Philippa Dannatt,, the Chair of Trustees, Christopher Lawrence, the Chairman of Broadland District Council and the Manager Horstead Centre.
Mr. Lawrence spoke about The Earl’s visit, saying: “I am absolutely thrilled by this royal visit as it recognises The Horstead Centre’s unique contribution to education in the Diocese and reinforces the aspiration to ensure that every young person receives a distinctive and unique experience. With the royal visit we have an even higher and clearer profile as part of the Diocesan structure so we can move forward with greater confidence to implement our expansion plans so that more children and young people can experience what The Horstead Centre has to offer.”
Prince Edward was shown around the venue by staff from the Centre. He learned about the history and the aims of the Centre, and also had a chance to watch the children in action, as they participated in activities such as archery, zip-wire and wall climbing.
The Earl of Wessex’s second visit of the day was to Little Plumstead Church of England Primary. He arrived to massive crowds of students and parents, and joked: “Why are all the barriers here? Are they here all the time? Are you dangerous?”
The Prince was given a tour of the school’s classrooms, and along the way, he stopped to talk to all the children, as well as the teachers of the school. The Diocesan Director of Education, Andy Mash, said that he was “Grateful that Prince Edward visited the school, which is one of more than 130 church schools in Norfolk,” adding that he was proud of the family of church schools and their role as custodians of their individual heritage.
Prince Edward’s last visit was to Norwich Cathedral, where he was he was a host of the Dean of Norwich Cathedral, the Very Rev Jane Hedges. The Prince had a private lunch in the Priory Hall, before visiting the Refectory to meet The Lord Mayor of Norwich. His Royal Highness stopped by the Cathedral Library Reading Room to look at the Cathedral’s archives. There, he met the Librarian, as well as a group of sixth formers and adult students who use the library.
The Queen’s youngest son adjourned to the Cloister, where he was shown a plaque commemorating the opening of the Refectory by the Dean. The Refectory had been opened by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 2010. The Royal also visited the Education Room and the Song School, where he listened to choristers from the Cathedral Choir rehearse.
After the visit, the Very Rev Jane Hedges said: “It was very nice to meet the Earl again, as we had previously met in London, and we discussed the contrast between Norwich and London and how much I enjoyed being here.”
Before leaving, Prince Edward signed the visitor’s book.