Writtle News

Royal visit to one of the longest established Colleges in the UK

October 2011

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall brought the spotlight to Writtle College in Chelmsford, Essex as she toured the specialist College, founded in 1893, accompanied by Lord Petre and a number of Essex Civic Dignitaries.

Specialising in subject areas relating to environmental design, equestrianism, agriculture and animal sciences, the courses on offer at Writtle are of particular interest to The Duchess. HRH is a keen supporter of the arts, enjoys gardening and is well known for her love of horses.

HRH’s visit took her to a Higher Education Animal Science lecture where she met Dr Carlos de Luna and spoke to some of his students, before moving on to tour the gardens of the Writtle College estate. Along the way The Duchess met Beryl Wyatt MBE, an Assistant Gardener who has worked at the College for over 40 years, and Further Education Horticulture students who will be entering the ‘2012 Ideal Home Show Young Gardeners of the Year’ competition, which is in association with the Prince of Wales’s Foundation for the Built Environment.

In the College’s Centenary garden The Duchess was introduced to Postgraduate students from Postharvest, a course which looks at how fresh horticultural produce must be handled, transported and stored to maintain quality from grower to consumer. HRH also met students from the Writtle College Professional Floristry course.

Nicola Carroll, a Professional Floristry Foundation degree student spoke to HRH and commented afterwards: “The Duchess was really nice to talk to and she seemed genuinely interested in finding out about everyone’s specialist area of study. She asked me how long I had been doing the course and what I hoped to do once I had completed it; I told The Duchess that I was hoping to go freelance and to do wedding flowers, and she joked with me about designing floral arrangements for the next Royal wedding, which really made me smile.”

Finally, The Duchess visited the recently opened Titchmarsh Centre for Animal Studies, named after and officially opened by the College’s Patron, Alan Titchmarsh. Here, The Duchess met more students and staff from the College, talked with members of the Essex mounted police, and toured the animal unit.

Principal of the College, Professor Dave Butcher guided the Royal party around the Writtle College campus and commented: “What a wonderful visitor to have at Writtle College. The Duchess was especially interested in talking to students from the College and I took great pleasure in offering her a tour of the campus, which took us to the College Centenary garden as well as the recently opened Titchmarsh Centre for Animal Studies.”

The tour of Writtle College was the last of four engagements The Duchess undertook in Essex.