Royal visitor returns to nature reserve

It was a welcome return for The Princess Royal when she visited a Norfolk nature reserve three years after officially opening it. And the royal visitor was delighted to see the changes and developments at the Sculthorpe Moor Community reserve, near Fakenham.

It was a welcome return for The Princess Royal when she visited a Norfolk nature reserve three years after officially opening it.

And the royal visitor was delighted to see the changes and developments at the Sculthorpe Moor Community reserve, near Fakenham.

On her latest visit, Princess Anne also unveiled a second plaque - this one marking the official opening of the new £1m eco-friendly education and visitor centre on the reserve, run by the Hawk and Owl Trust.

On her arrival the royal guest was presented with a posy by seven-year-old Adelaide Morrachan, grand-daughter of actress Liza Goddard, president of the Hawk and Owl Trust.

Among the guests there to greet her were two local children, 10-year-old Bethany Ellis, dressed as a marsh harrier - this bird regularly breeds on the reserve and the other - a peregrine outfit worn by Megan Smith, aged nine. The peregrine is the emblem of the Hawk and Owl Trust, the country's leading national charity dedicated to conserving wild birds of prey and their habitats.

The Princess appeared interested in everything she saw and several people escorting her around commented on her extensive knowledge of the reserve and its work. She was keen to talk to some of the many volunteers who give their time and talents to assist in the reserve's day-to-day operation.

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When she unveiled the plaque in the new complex, the Princess told guests that it had been a great pleasure to return after three years and see just how much it had changed and grown.

“The advantage of having a proper education and visitor centre really does add to the potential of what you have here and what has been added to it,” said the Princess.

“That only happens really thanks to so many people contributing money, time and effort and that's very obvious during a trip around the reserve so many thanks to everyone here and many congratulations.”

The Princess, dressed in a camel-coloured coat and black boots and without a hat, was given a private tour by reserve warden Nigel Middleton, who had the original concept for the reserve and one of the main people involved in driving forward its development.

On Thursday the public will have their first opportunity to see inside the new eco-friendly built complex during an open afternoon between 2pm and 6pm. Admission is free.

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