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Archived news

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7 February 2017

HRH The Duke of Kent visited Sesame Access Systems Limited to celebrate the West Byfleet company winning The Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2016. Sesame Access, which designs bespoke wheelchair lifts and access solutions, was founded in 1996 by hydraulic engineer and inventor, Charlie Lyons. When his son Steven finished university, father and son built early prototypes and improved the technology. Over the years, Sesame’s technology and innovation has developed into a world-class product, with installations in the Sydney Opera House, Qatar, Germany, France and the USA – overall, some 200 premises across the world, particularly London. The Duke’s visit also included a live link-up to Sesame’s international design team, who explained how the lifts are designed, innovated and tested using the latest cloud technology.

Steven Lyons, Management Director of Sesame Access said: “The Duke was very interested in our technology and engineering, and how Sesame is pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the world of disabled accessibility. The Duke was also very supportive of our International Trade achievements, flying the flag for British innovation and Engineering across the world.”


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22 October 2016

HRH The Duke of Kent, in his role as Chancellor of the University of Surrey, was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant at the institution’s 50th Anniversary Celebratory Procession and Thanksgiving Ceremony on 22nd October 2016. The procession up Guildford High Street, leading from St Mary’s Church past the iconic Surrey Scholar statue, culminated in a Thanksgiving Service at Holy Trinity Church. The event, part of an exciting programme across this 50th anniversary year, brought together academics, staff and students with civic and county dignitaries, who were welcomed by the university’s recently appointed President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Max Lu. 


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6 May 2016

HRH the Duchess of Gloucester shows great support for the Royal Alexandra and Albert School at Reigate. In her role as President, she joined pupils, staff, governors and past pupils for the annual Founders’ Day service on 6th May; it was the last for Paul D Spencer Ellis, who retires this summer after 15 years as Headmaster, and a celebration of the ongoing success of the school under his leadership. During the service, the Duchess heard how the school continues to support children whose home circumstances make boarding education desirable. She presented prizes to this year’s winners and joined staff and pupils for a brief reception before greeting junior pupils who were waiting excitedly to meet her. She even ‘high-fived’ one of the juniors during her walkabout. 


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April 2016

HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of The Royal National Children’s Foundation (RNCF), visited King Edward’s School, Witley on HM The Queen’s 90th birthday to meet secondary school pupils supported by the charity. King Edward’s educates 46 RNCF beneficiaries – the highest number of any school with which the charity works. The Princess Royal learnt more about the transformational effects achieved by the RNCF, heard the stories of four pupils whose lives had been turned around, and listened to a samba drumming demonstration, and saxophone and wind workshops.


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The Silent Pool Distillery in Albury welcomed HRH The Duke of Kent for a guided tour of its still house. The Royal visitor was invited to try some of the hand-crafted spirits produced there by this young, dynamic company, set up in 2015 and already winning international awards. Resident distiller Tom Hutchings explained the three stages of distilling and the significance of the different fruits and botanicals that go into Silent Pool Gin. 

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The Duke moved on to a sun-drenched Albury Organic Vineyard where owner Nick Wenman, who planted the vineyard in 2009, showed the different varieties of vines and explained how the 12-acre vineyard is cultivated along organic and biodynamic principles. There was a chance to tell His Royal Highness about the naturally produced, award-winning wines created in the Surrey Hills, before a Toast to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday the following day, in a cocktail created specially for the occasion – Albury Royal. 


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February 2016

HRH The Countess of Wessex took part in a Royal Bake Off during a visit to Christopher’s in Guildford, one of two hospices run by Shooting Star Chase to care for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions. The Countess, who is Royal Patron of the charity, enjoyed decorating cakes with children and families to celebrate 15 years since the opening of Christopher’s and cut a specially-made anniversary birthday cake. The Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Michael More-Molyneux, welcomed the Countess to the children’s hospice, which was built on land donated by the More-Molyneux family in memory of their son Christopher. 

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When he opened the newly built community building, the Harmony Centre, at Ashley Primary School in Walton-on-Thames, HRH The Prince of Wales discovered how the work of pupils had been inspired by his book ‘Harmony’ . He was shown ways in which the school has been working to build these principles into a meaningful curriculum that helps children understand how to live in a more sustainable and harmonious way. His 1.5 hour visit concluded with the presentation of gifts by pupils, including two pots of honey produced from the on-site bees.

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The Princess Royal was back in Surrey to visit two businesses and a charity. Her first stop was the head office and distribution centre of Dennys Brands, the Leatherhead based-hospitality uniform specialist. She met employees, toured the site and unveiled a commemorative plaque. 

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At Brocks Chocs in Brockham, she was greeted by 18-year-old Danesh Amin, founder of Brocks Chocs, the chocolate factory which this young master chocolatier built in the village in 2014, creating employment locally. Finally, she presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the Camberley-based charity Limbcare. Its founder, Ray Edwards, MBE, introduced volunteers and those who benefit from Limbcare, which supports amputees and their families.


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December 2015

British Army medics who helped tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa were presented with medals by HRH The Duke of Cambridge during a parade at Keogh Barracks in Ash Vale. He was welcomed by the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux. Prince William presented 160 government Ebola medals to Army medical staff from the UK and overseas, along with RAF and Royal Navy personnel, the first honour to be awarded for service in a humanitarian crisis.


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November 2015

In an act of remembrance, HRH The Earl of Wessex officially opened a new Peace Garden at the site of the restored Muslim Burial Ground in Woking, once the final resting place for Muslim soldiers from the two Great Wars who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend Britain. Hundreds of volunteers, including students from Bishop David Brown School, were involved in the project to transform the Grade II listed structure.


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October 2015

HM The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the University of Surrey’s new School of Veterinary Medicine. The £45 million building includes state-of-the-art clinical skills facilities and one of the best veterinary pathology centres in Europe.


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September 2015

HRH The Duke of Gloucester met Mr Rob Poulton, Director of Excavations, and his team of professional archaeologists from the Surrey County Archaeological Unit when he unveiled a plaque to mark seven seasons of community excavations at Woking Palace. He then went on to open a new £3.6million teaching block, The Chaloner Building, at Glyn School in Epsom, where he spent time talking with students and staff.


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Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging Limited was one of only two UK companies in 2015 to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in two categories. HRH The Princess Royal visited the company at Merrow in Guildford to present both the Innovation Award – recognising the equine standing MRI (EQ2) developed by Hallmarq, which has completely changed how vets approach the diagnosis of lameness in horses – and the International Trade Award reflecting the company’s global success, with the EQ2 now used in 23 countries.


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Supporting local communities

The Community Foundation for Surrey marked its 10th anniversary in April 2016 with a celebration dinner at Ramster Hall, attended by Patron, Michael More-Molyneux. This independent charitable trust works with donors who want to give something back to their local communities and voluntary groups, by providing vital services for local people and disadvantaged individuals through a growing programme of grant-making to local communities. Over the past decade the Foundation has awarded £6 million in grants across Surrey and built an endowment of some £10 million. This photograph taken at the dinner shows the Founding Chairman, Professor Patrick Dowling (left) and the current Chairman, David Frank, with Executive Director, Wendy Varcoe who was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2016 to recognise her dedication and hard work in supporting local communities across Surrey.


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Vice Lord-Lieutenant appointed 

On 8th February 2016, Bill Biddell DL was appointed as Vice Lord-Lieutenant by Michael More-Molyneux, Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey and will serve in that role for three years. In these photographs above he is seen in his role as President of Disability Initiative talking with the charity’s Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex.


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Commemorating 800 years of Magna Carta

The eyes of the world were turned on Runnymede Meadow on the morning of 15th June 2015 as HM The Queen led the nation’s 800th anniversary celebration of Magna – the Great Charter – and, watched by 4,000 guests, unveiled a plaque marking this historic event. Accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh and The Princess Royal, Her Majesty was greeted by the (then) Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Dame Sarah Goad, who had earlier welcomed HRH The Duke of Cambridge to this celebration of music, drama and art hosted by Surrey County Council and The National Trust. 

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HRH The Princess Royal joined more than 1,000 guests from the US – many representing the American Bar Association (ABA) – to watch the rededication of the Magna Carta Memorial by the US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, in the presence of the Knights Templar. And finally, as the Red Arrows roared over the Runnymede Meadow trailing a red, white and blue fly past, the significance of the timing was lost on no one: 12.15pm. On this day in 1215, the barons confronted King John and took the first hugely significant step on the journey to building a society where everyone has equal rights and no one is above the law.


Other archived items
Queen's Diamond Jubilee 2012
Olympic events in Surrey 2012