As restrictions on everyday life continue to lift and the world starts to return to pre-pandemic levels, the Earl and Countess of Wessex headed to the West Country on Monday to visit a vaccination centre as their first stop on a day of engagements in Somerset.
Their Royal Highnesses started the day at the Vaccination Centre at the Bath and West Showground, one of the country’s largest COVID vaccination centres. The couple talked with key colleagues and volunteers working on the programme, as well as people receiving their vaccines. Subsequently, The Earl visited Somerset Community Foundation at the Bath and West Showground. A growing philanthropy since 2002, the foundation manages over 84 funds for individuals, companies, trusts, and public bodies. Over the last 15 years, the foundation has invested more than £7.5 million in support.
Following the visit to the vaccination centre, the Earl and Countess visited the Elim Connect Centre – a church located in Portway, Wells. Here, the couple were received by Rear Admiral Brian Perowne and Dr Nicholas Hooper, Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset. TRH then went on to visit volunteers of Wells Coronavirus Network in St. Cuthbert’s Churchyard, St. Cuthbert Streets, Wells. A group of community organisations providing help and support to local response during the pandemic.
After a stroll on Wells High Street meeting local retailers, the couple visited The Bishop’s Palace. The visit coincided with the re-opening of hospitality and tourism businesses and the discussion of plans for a positive future following the effects of the pandemic. The Earl heard about the changes made at the site during the pandemic and then visited the South Lawn. Adjacent to the ruins of the Great Hall, it was originally built for King Edward I. In modern times, several community groups have taken membership at the Palace including The Lawrence Centre. The first to take up membership, the centre provides day opportunities for older people including those living with health issues and memory loss.
The Bishop’s Palace is joining in on celebrating The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. They will plant a tree as part of the national initiative, The Queen’s Green Canopy. Across the nation, people are encouraged to plant trees to commemorate the Jubilee. The tree will be planted with the help of students from The Blue School and Wells Cathedral School. Formal gardens were planted at the palace’s Arboretum in 1977 in honour of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.