Shropshire Star

Excitement today as Princess Royal visits Shropshire town

The Princess Royal is visiting the county today to mark the work of the Shropshire founders of Save the Children.

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Princess Anne on a visit to Telford.

As patron of Save the Children, the princess is making a semi-private visit to The Lyth country house on the edge of Ellesmere, the birthplace of the charity’s founders, Eglantyne Jebb and her sister, Dorothy Buxton.

She is then visiting the Jebb Memorial Garden, which was created alongside the Mere, in Ellesmere, to celebrate the charity’s centenary in 2019.

Both engagements are been listed online in the Royal Diary, but timings have not been released.

The visit is in response to a joint invitation by the Jebb family, Save the Children’s Ellesmere fund-raising branch, and the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative.

The volunteer group has led the Jebb Garden community arts, education and research project, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, local councils, schools, businesses and other organisations.

This year, Save the Children is marking another anniversary – 100 years since the League of Nations adopted the 1924 Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

The ground-breaking international accord was drawn up by Eglantyne Jebb to help safeguard children’s health, welfare and education, and their protection from hunger, abuse and exploitation.

It now forms part of a wider United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights, supported by almost every country.

Eglantyne died in Geneva in 1928, aged 52.

Earlier this year, the Swiss city authorities recognised her importance as a fearless, campaigning social reformer by moving her remains from its largest municipal cemetery to a more prestigious resting place known as the Cemetery of Kings.

She is now buried alongside 350 other leading figures who played a significant part in Geneva’s history.

The Jebb sisters were born at The Lyth in the late 1800s.

It is now the home of their great great-nephew, Richard Jebb, whose mother, Corinna Jebb led the Ellesmere and District fund-raising branch of Save the Children for more than 50 years.

The Jebb Garden, about a mile away, is part of the Cremorne Gardens beauty spot, one of Shropshire’s busiest outdoor recreational attractions and the beginning of the Ellesmere Sculpture Trail.

The garden features various artworks and an interactive labyrinth that is popular with children.

Information boards tell the sisters’ remarkable story, with a timeline history of Save the Children.

Sculpture group chairman, Len Graham said: “We’re proud and grateful that The Princess Royal has found time in her busy schedule to accept our invitation to visit the Jebb Garden.

"This has been a wide-ranging project, involving all sectors of the community. Everyone who has contributed should rightly feel proud to receive this recognition.

“As Patron, The Princess has been a dedicated, hard-working supporter of Save the Children over more than 50 years. We hope this visit will help to raise awareness of the vital work that the charity carries out around the world, and also remind everyone that it all began here in Ellesmere – with the humanity and vision of two determined sisters with a strong social conscience, who are too-often forgotten.”

Gemma Sherrington, Interim Chief Executive of Save the Children UK, said: “Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton’s lifelong dedication to campaign and advocate for children’s rights is the reason that Save the Children exists today.

"The Jebb Memorial Garden was created to celebrate their pioneering work and commitment to transforming the lives of millions of children across the globe.

“We are delighted that Save the Children’s Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will be visiting the memorial garden in the sisters’ birthplace and meeting with their descendants as well as local fundraisers. We are always incredibly grateful for the Princess Royal’s support.”