Royal Visit – HRH The Countess of Wessex – Wednesday 25th April

The County was honoured by the presence of HRH The Countess of Wessex and was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant, the Dowager Countess of Darnley, who then presented HRH to a number of county dignitaries and their partners.

Air Vice Marshall Mike Smart escorted HRH to the “Weeping Window” display of ceramic poppies that had been set up as a cascade from a high window on a tower to the East of the North door of Hereford Cathedral. The poppies were the same as were on display at the Tower Of London in 2017 to commemorate the fallen of the First World War and made a powerful impression on the viewer.

HRH was then introduced to a group of former munition workers at the munitions factory in Rotherwas that was still in production until well after the second world war finished. I was told some hair raising stories told with remarkable understatement. https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/info/200164/herefordshire_archive_and_records_centre/273/rotherwas_munitions_project/2

HRH was also shown the new SAS Memorial Window, ‘Ascension’, a beautiful new addition to our Cathedral. http://www.sasmemorial.co.uk/ HRH was presented with a (delicious looking) hamper of Herefordshire produce by Mrs Dorothy Knight, a former munitions worker now aged 96. I had talked to her beforehand and was struck by the way she talked about her experiences.

HRH was escorted across the road to the Hereford Museum to see the “Herefordshire in the Great War” exhibition as well as artwork by Herefordshire artist, Brian Hatton, a man of remarkable talent from Hereford, born in 1887 and, tragically killed in 1916. In his short 39 years of life, he produced over 1,000 art works. One can’t help but reflect on what might have been. HRH also met a group of children who had won prizes for their artwork remembering the First World War and met the sponsors of the prizes, former High Sheriff, Bob Tabor and his wife Bea. HRH was also given a briefing on the work of Caplor Horizons in Commonwealth Countries. https://www.caplorhorizons.org/

HRH was then taken to the Hereford Cider Museum, formerly a Bulmer site but dedicated to all cider making in the county where we all enjoyed tours of the Museum. We also all enjoyed a good lunch. Finally, HRH was given a briefing of the work and continuity of the Brightspace Foundation.  https://www.brightspacefoundation.org.uk/.

HRH then made her departure.