Shropshire Star

Watch: Princess Anne visits Ellesmere to unveil plaque at memorial garden

A duck flypast provided a quacking good accompaniment to a Royal visit to North Shropshire.

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Princess Anne visits Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere Shropshire..

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, was visiting Ellesmere to unveil a plaque at the memorial garden dedicated to Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, when some mating ducks decided to descend on the garden much to the crowd's delight.

At one point it looked as if the mating waddling birds were going to head straight to Her Royal Highness as she was meeting sculptor John Merrill. But they took off just over the heads of waiting crowds and reporters from the local media.

Princess Anne visits Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere Shropshire..

It's not the usual type of flypast that members of the Royal family are used to but the Princess Royal did not seem flustered as much as the crowd who were tickled pink by the impromptu display.

Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton were the town-born sisters who founded Save the Children more than 100 years ago, and the Princess Royal is a long time Patron of the charity which supports young refugees fleeing war, famine and other emergencies.

Princess Anne met sculptor John Merrill during her visit to Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere Shropshire..

The Princess spent a long time meeting volunteers and artists involved in creating the memorial garden.

Long-serving fund-raising volunteers included Mrs Corinna Jebb, whose late husband, Lionel, was a great-nephew of Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton.

Princess Anne visits Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere Shropshire. The sisters sculpture

Mrs Jebb started the local branch from the family home, The Lyth, on the outskirts Ellesmere in July 1968 with Mrs Sheila Griffith from a neighbouring farm. They are now the only surviving original members.

Others who joined soon afterwards, also welcomed the Princess, including branch secretary Mrs Jean Ferries, a retired teacher.

Princess Anne visits Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere Shropshire..

“I was asked to join the committee in September ’68, after my husband and I moved to Ellesmere from Scotland,” she said.

“The group grew rapidly the following year because it was Save the Children’s 50th anniversary and we were holding special celebrations”.

Princess Anne visits Cremorne Gardens in Ellesmere Shropshire..

The Jebb Garden, overlooking the town’s mere was created five years ago by the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative, as part of a community arts project, part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council, England to celebrate Save the Children’s centenary.

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