The Princess Royal was in Cumbria yesterday, helping the University celebrate its 10th birthday, as well as Lochcarron tartan makers in Selkirk, Scotland, who were celebrating their 70th anniversary.
As the new academic year gets underway, amid the frenzy of freshers’ week, Princess Anne visited the university’s Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle to officially open the £3.5 million STEM facilities.
During a 90-minute tour of the campus, Princess Anne met with staff and students including award-winning nurse, Zoe Butler, and police officer, Rob Ewin.
Civic dignitaries and dozens of invited guests from organisations with close links with the university were among those who packed into the Learning Gateway lecture theatre, where the Princess signed the visitors book.
University vice-chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell, said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome The Princess Royal to the university during such an important year for us and to have the opportunity to share with her the changes that are taking place.
“In our 10th anniversary year, we have come a long way in delivering a skilled graduate workforce to meet regional and national needs, working in many partnerships to raise aspiration and attainment and equip our learners for practice within a wide range of professions.
“We are very proud of our achievements and the difference we make to economic prosperity, social impact and culture life in Cumbria and beyond.”
Princess Anne is known to have a particular interest in women in science was interested to see the university’s investment in STEM subjects and facilities. The university’s provision in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths continues to grow, with labs at Fusehill Street accompanying an ever-growing list of courses being developed. Partly funded by the Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership, the development at Fusehill Street is fully commissioned and is used for zoology, forensic and health courses as well as research work.
The Princess praised the university for its work with other partners, including industry, to provide new opportunities such as “real life” research and efforts to develop provision to meet skills gaps identified by employers.
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“You show the signs of doing that really well,” Anne said. “It is a pleasure to join you at an important part of your process.”
Professor Mennell said: “She was very impressed, engaged and interested. She was also very relaxed and very knowledgable.
“She was very interested in where we are looking to position ourselves in emerging industrial strategies and that Cumbria does have world-class assets like STEM.”
Since it was formed in 2007, more than 32,000 students have graduated from the University of Cumbria, which has sites in Carlisle, Ambleside, Lancaster and London, where 70 per cent of schools in Tower Hamlets employ at least one Cumbrian graduate.
At the end of the visit the royal guest enjoyed a performance by Voces UoC, the university’s vocal singing group.
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The Princess Royal then headed for the Scottish Borders. Here, she visited Lochcarron in Selkirk to mark their 70th anniversary. Lochcarron are the world’s leading manufacturer of tartan, and the Princess was visiting in her capacity as president of the UK Fashion and Textile Association.
Of course, the Royal Family regularly wear tartan when they are in Scotland, and Anne chose a green and red patterned suit for her day of engagements.
Princess Anne then went on to open a new glasshouse at JG Shanks and Son dairy farmers in Hawick, Roxburgh.
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