Date Published: 01 December 2021
His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester was welcomed to Rutland yesterday [Tuesday 30 November] by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant Dr Sarah Furness.
On The Duke’s first visit to Rutland since November 2019, His Royal Highness travelled to six official engagements around the County, the first of which saw him plant a tree to complete Rutland’s newly created Duke of Edinburgh Memorial Orchard, located at The Rutland County Showground. Plans for the Orchard were first announced by the Rutland Lieutenancy in April, as a special tribute to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. The Orchard has been funded by public donations and features several varieties of local rare historic apple trees that are native to the local area The trees themselves were supplied by the Stamford Community Orchard Group and planted by The Rutland Showground.
The Duke was greeted at the Showground by High Sheriff of Rutland David Wood. While there, His Royal Highness was invited to meet Duke of Edinburgh students from Oakham School and Catmose College, before unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the visit and recognise the Memorial Orchard’s contribution to The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. The first leg of the visit ended with the unveiling of a bas relief of The Duke of Edinburgh. The relief was carved by South Luffenham-based sculptor Christopher Groombridge.
“It was an honour to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester back to Rutland today. It was particularly poignant to see him plant the final tree in Rutland’s Duke of Edinburgh Memorial Orchard. The Orchard has been made possible thanks to the kindness and generosity of local people, all of whom wanted to pay tribute to the life of Prince Philip and see his legacy of environmental stewardship celebrated within our county.”Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness
From The Rutland Showground, His Royal Highness travelled a short distance into Oakham to meet representatives of local charity ‘For Rutland’, which raises funds to provide free advice and support for people living with long-term health conditions. His Royal Highness saw the work of For Rutland volunteers who upcycle clothing in order to support the charity’s specialist advisors, based at Citizens Advice Rutland. This innovative project is completely unique to Rutland but increasingly seen as a model to be adopted nationally.
Next, His Royal Highness was invited to meet representatives from Rutland-based business The Woolroom, which uses local wool for bedding and homewares that are then exported to customers all around the world. The Woolroom was recently announced as Rutland’s first ever winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and gained the award for International Trade.
His Royal Highness then journeyed to Exton-based Hambleton Bakery to meet the company’s owners and discuss the importance of locally-based farming and food businesses. As well as being a successful local business, Hambleton Bakery uses sustainable fuel to cook traditional breads in a time-honoured way and has plans to build a new purpose-designed artisan bakery near Greetham.
The Duke’s trip to Rutland culminated in a visit to Uppingham, where His Royal Highness stopped at the Falcon Hotel to meet representatives of local organisation Dying Matters, which provides free access to all information that can help to improve the end-of-life experience for people with terminal illnesses, as well as families and loved ones. Dying Matters was initiated by Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness and runs a number of special 'Bereavement Hubs’ locally, including one based in Uppingham.
The visit ended at Uppingham Community College where Principal Ben Solly invited His Royal Highness to plant a tree in the school’s garden, to enhance the garden for students with special educational needs and make a further contribution to The Queen’s Green Canopy. Uppingham Community College is working to establish itself as a centre of excellence for young people with communication and interaction needs, having already opened a brand new learning space for Rutland children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), last year. The school has also made great strides to recover from a serious fire in August 2020, just as it was emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Today’s visit has been a truly special occasion. It was a pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester to Rutland and to share so much of what is great about our county – our wonderfully close-knit communities, our generosity of spirit, local businesses steeped in tradition and our vibrant young people. I’m grateful that The Duke was able to see all of this first-hand and would like to thank him for his visit.”Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness