Princess Royal made chancellor of Shropshire's Harper Adams University
[gallery] The Princess Royal was today installed as the first chancellor of Shropshire's only university.
Princess Anne landed on Harper Adams University's rugby fields at 10.18am, two minutes ahead of schedule, just a stone's throw away from the Princess Royal halls of residence she opened last year.
She was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Algernon Heber-Percy, and ushered into the back of a Range Rover before setting off for St Peter's Church in the village.
Addressing the congregation, the Princess Royal said said: "I am really honoured and delighted to be appointed as the first chancellor of Harper Adams and I'm very touched that you should ask me to do this and fulfil a new post and many congratulations on the achievement of university status.
"Thomas Harper Adams knew what he wanted to achieve. There are very strong foundations which have been very well built on."
The princess was presented with a scroll of office by Roger Mercer, chairman of the university's board of governors.
The short service was led by rector of St Peter's and university chaplain, Rev Edward Ward.
David Llewellyn, vice-chancellor of the university, told the Princess: "It wasn't until December last year that university status was achieved and we are greatly honoured that you have agreed to take on this role.
"I'd like to thank our students, staff and governors for everything they do for this university. We could not have a more committed university community.
"Harper Adams is the first university in Shropshire. Our roots are embedded in the community and in this county. We have links with the village of Edgmond, so much so that even the village shop has a second branch on campus.
"It has been calculated that we contribute £40million a year to the local and regional economy. We could not do that without the support of the community.
"The studies in which we specialise are being seen as increasingly important but this is no time to rest on our laurels.
"We must do more to encourage young people to consider a career in our sector.
"You are well known for your support of the agriculture sector. I know from your previous visits that you take a keen interest in our work, staff and students.
"That is why it's always a delight to welcome you back to Harper Adams and we are immensely proud to call you our chancellor and look forward to working with you in the yeas ahead."
Mr Mercer, told the congregation: "In the last few years we have seen our student numbers grow and we have invested in our campus to ensure that students and staff have access to the best possible facilities to support our education and research activities for the agri-food chain and rural industries."
He told the princess: "Ma'am, your commitment to agriculture and rural matters is very well known and we are certain that your wise counsel as chancellor will be of great service to the Harper Adams University community over the years to come."
The service ended with the Lord's Prayer, before guests headed back to the university on buses.
After photographs, it was time for a short tour of the building and a new teaching facility and lecture theatre.
Grounds manager at Harper Adams Mark Hall handed over a gift to the princess and making it a very special day for Mr Hall, later in the afternoon, he himself was presented with the British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant.
The honour was awarded to him in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours.
Mr Hall has given exemplary service to the university since 1981 – managing a team of five staff who care for an estate of 18 acres and 22 acres of woodland, as well as helping with 800 acres of farmland.
The grounds team also maintains all of their machinery and equipment and support other departments across the university.
Then after she then mingled with students, talking to them in groups of 10, signing a visitor's book and being presented with a gift of flowers from final year student Jessica Clift, the new chancellor was set to be on her way again.
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