Princess Royal to honour charities in Bicester visit

Royal Visit to Northampton University, Avenue Campus. Princess Anne opens The Newton Building.

Royal Visit to Northampton University, Avenue Campus. Princess Anne opens The Newton Building.

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THE Princess Royal will present the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to four charities when she visits Bicester on Tuesday, November 1.

Princess Anne will present awards to representatives of Helen and Douglas House Hospice, the Prison Phoenix Trust, BHYP and the Windrush Valley Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) after opening the new John Paul II Centre at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

The awards recognise the important contributions made by charity volunteers.

Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Timothy Stevenson, arranged the royal visit and will escort Princess Anne on the day.

He said: “I’m a great advocate of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“It was brought in at the time of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee 10 years ago.

“It’s very much an award for the voluntary sector – it’s been called an MBE for organisations.

“Organisations that win it really have merited a big pat on the back.

“It helps with their fundraising profile, which is important at a time when the voluntary sector is struggling a bit. We need to celebrate what they do.”

Wendy Bridge, volunteer manager for Helen and Douglas House Hospice, said: “It’s wonderful that we have an opportunity to meet a senior royal.”

Helen and Douglas House in Oxford was the world’s first hospice for children and young people, while the Prison Phoenix Trust helps inmates cope by teaching relaxation techniques.

BHYP works with disadvantaged young people in Banbury, and Windrush Valley ABC has worked with local youngsters for 34 years.

Congregation members at the Church of the Immaculate Conception worked hard to raise money for the new John Paul II Community Centre, which is thought to be the largest Passiv Haus – an ultra low-energy construction standard – building in the UK.

Princess Anne, acting in her capacity as colonel-in-chief of the Royal Logistic Corps, visited Bicester last November to present service medals to members of 23 Pioneer Regiment.

Guests are due to arrive at the new centre in The Causeway at 11am.

The Princess Royal is due to arrive at 11.45am and will leave at around 1pm.