Canal boat trip for Princess Royal during Devizes visit

10:52am Tuesday 11th March 2014

By Lewis Cowen

The Princess Royal will enjoy a brief narrowboat trip, a tour of ancient Britain and a cup of tea with volunteers when she visits Devizes next month.

The Princess is due to visit the town on Monday, April 7, when she will call at the headquarters of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust on Devizes Wharf, officially open the new Bronze Age galleries at Wiltshire Museum and meet some of the volunteers working for Save the Children. The Devizes branch of the charity is one of its oldest.

She will arrive in Devizes at a time yet to be finalised and will embark on the narrowboat Kenavon Venture at the Town Bridge on Bath Road for the short trip to the Wharf.

There she will present the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which it was awarded in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Rob Dean, chairman of the trust, said: “She will meet about 50 of our volunteers and staff members but there will be a lot more of them at the Wharf to welcome her.

“We are absolutely delighted that she is coming to present the award in person. It means a lot to us.”

From there, Her Royal Highness will travel to Long Street to officially open the £750,000 galleries at Wiltshire Museum, which have already made an impact on the visiting public.

Museum director David Dawson said: “We have almost tripled the number of visitors since the galleries opened in October. We are forecasting over 20,000 visitors this year, where normally we have about 9,000.”

Although this is thought to be the first official royal visit the musem has ever received, the Prince of Wales engaged in research at the museum for two weeks while he was a student.

The Princess will complete her visit to Devizes with a reception in the town hall for the local branch of Save the Children. She has been president of the charity for many years.

The Princess is no stranger to Devizes. She attended a conference for carers in the Corn Exchange in 2007, delivering the keynote address, and, in 1999, she inaugurated the new housing estate on the grounds of the former Roundway Hospital and visited Canon’s House children’s home.

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