Princess Royal visits town to open computing campus
PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 April 2018
Hundreds of students lined the streets cheering and waving flags to welcome the Princess Royal to Weston-super-Mare.
Princess Anne was invited to open Weston College’s South West Skills Campus, based at the former Bushacre Business Park in Locking Road.
The site was bought by the college in 2010 and has undergone a multimillion pound renovation to transform it into a facility for computing, engineering, technology, motor vehicles and construction.
During her visit, the Princess Royal met key members of the college leadership team including its principal and chief executive, Dr Paul Phillips, as well as the Mayor of Weston Jos Holder and Mike Jackson, chief executive of North Somerset Council.
Princess Anne then went on a tour of the facilities, watched students working in the engineering workshops, and met apprentices from GKN Aerospace and Rolls Royce, two companies which moved their engineering training to Weston since the college opened its engineering centre in 2015.
In the college’s computer numerical control workshop, Princess Anne turned on an engraving machine which created a commemorative brass plaque which was presented to her at the end of her visit.
The Princess Royal was then invited to try on a virtual reality headset device, before unveiling a plaque to open the campus, signing the visitors’ book and being presented with a Bristol blue glass jug.
Before leaving, Princess Anne was given a posy by Herons’ Moor Academy pupil, 11-year-old Libby Swinney.
Princess Anne opened Weston College’s Loxton Campus in 2008. She also visited Weston in 2011 and most recently in 2013.
Dr Paul Phillips said: “I am very proud to see where Weston College is today, and how the college has been an influence in the regeneration of Weston through the creation of inspiring facilities and the provision of excellent teaching and learning.
“I am honoured to celebrate the opening of the South West Skills Campus with the Princess Royal, who also opened our Loxton campus a few years ago.
“It was interesting to hear her thoughts on the growth of the college since her last visit, and her thoughts on the importance of increasing the opportunities for women in the fields of science and engineering, something the college itself has been passionately working towards for a number of years.”