Princess Anne officially opens riding for disabled centre's sensory garden

Her Royal Highness meets young RDA rider Daisy Mason

Her Royal Highness meets young RDA rider Daisy Mason - Credit: Rachel Hurcomb Photography

Princess Anne has officially opened up a west Norfolk garden for people living with dementia or sensory impairment.

The Princess Royal, who is RDA president, visited the West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled Association (WNRDA), based at the Mapgie Centre at Wallington Hall, on Monday, July 12 to tour the centre and open its new sensory garden.

She was met by the deputy lieutenant of Norfolk James Bagge, John and Tian Plaxton, owners of Wallington Hall, RDA Norfolk County chairman Peter Tobitt and WNRDA chairman Colin Perriss, before touring the stables, meeting staff, riders and volunteers, and watching an indoor riding lesson.

Her Royal Highness visits the Magpie Centre, near Downham Market.

Her Royal Highness, accompanied by Mr James Bagge, Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk and Mr Colin Perriss, Chairman, West Norfolk RDA - Credit: Rachel Hurcomb Photography

Princess Anne also spoke with World War II veteran John Moran from King's Lynn Residential Home and his carer Julie Godfrey before unveiling a plaque to officially open the sensory garden.

Her Royal Highness unveils a plaque, to commemorate the opening of the Sensory Garden.

Her Royal Highness unveils a plaque, to commemorate the opening of the Sensory Garden. - Credit: Rachel Hurcomb Photography

The centre, near Downham Market, said the new garden will particularly benefit Tea With a Pony participants, many of whom are living with dementia or sensory impairment.

Her Royal Highness watches a lesson in the Magpie Centre indoor school

Her Royal Highness watches a lesson in the Magpie Centre indoor school - Credit: Rachel Hurcomb Photography

Mr Perriss said: "We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal to the Magpie Centre to formally open the sensory garden.

"It was a great opportunity for her to meet our dedicated staff, riders, volunteers and supporters, including those who created the sensory garden.

Her Royal Highness meets RDA dressage rider Michelle Alflatt

Her Royal Highness meets RDA dressage rider Michelle Alflatt - Credit: Rachel Hurcomb Photography

‘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."

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Students from West Walton School presented the royal guest with a posy before she left.

Students from West Walton School present a posy to Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal

Students from West Walton School present a posy to Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal - Credit: Rachel Hurcomb Photography

The sessions will restart in September and will allow care home residents and their carers to meet together over tea and cakes and for them to interact with the ponies.

The planting for the garden is almost complete and the Magpie Centre thanked its "loyal volunteers" for their work for the project.

But further funding is needed to buy two hardwood tables to seat wheelchair users and their carers. These tables cost £600 each and the centre is appealing for donations.

Other items are also needed which includes grooming kits, manure scoops, brooms, shaving forks and clipper blades.

To donate contact the centre on 01553 810202 or visit www.rda-westnorfolk.org.uk