Monday July 12 saw an action-packed afternoon at the Magpie Centre when Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, RDA President, arrived to tour the Centre and open the Sensory Garden.
On arrival, Her Royal Highness was greeted by Mr James Bagge, Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk, Mr John and Mrs Tian Plaxton, owners of Wallington Hall, Mr Peter Tobitt, RDA Norfolk County Chairman and Mr Colin Perriss, West Norfolk RDA Chairman.
After touring the stables, meeting and chatting to groups of staff, riders, volunteers, and some horses, Her Royal Highness watched a riding lesson in the indoor school.
Highlight of the visit was a trip to the Sensory Garden, created to support the Magpie Centre’s Tea With a Pony initiative. This enables care home residents, people living with dementia and other sensory impairment to socialize over tea and cakes and meet some of the ponies.
While in the Sensory Garden, her Royal Highness met World War II veteran Mr John Moran, from King’s Lynn Residential Home, and his carer, Ms Julie Godfrey, before unveiling a plaque commemorating the official opening.
To celebrate carriage driving, which the Magpie Centre offers in addition to riding, RDA carriage driver Mr Aynsley Calvert, accompanied by Carriage Driving Instructor Ms Jody Voigt gave a display in an adjoining paddock, weaving expertly through a course of cones.
Finally, a group of students from West Walton School presented Her Royal Highness with a posy, before she departed by car.
Said Mr Perriss: ‘We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal to the Magpie Centre to formally open the Sensory Garden, which is an integral part of our Tea With a Pony experience. It was a great opportunity for her to meet our dedicated staff, riders, volunteers and supporters, including those who created the Sensory Garden.
‘We are extremely grateful to Her Royal Highness for taking the time to visit us, to learn more about what we do and how the support of so many people and businesses from the local community helped us through the difficult periods of lockdown,’ he added.