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My first Royal Opening – WESC Foundation

July 17, 2013

On Tuesday 16 July, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited the children, young people and team at WESC Foundation. 


I must thank Caroline Burkie for the invitation to attend and the opening of the new Transition Centre – my first ever Royal Opening!  It was great to meet many other supporters of WESC Foundation over cooling lemonade as temperatures hit the 30’s!

On a personal note (as a host of events you never seem to have the time to talk to everyone or in some cases anyone, for any length of time) it was great to be able to have some time to talk to Helena Holt – Devon Air Ambulance, Nigel Wilkinson – WNW Design and Glen King – Glen King PR & Marketing – some entertaining and thought provoking discussions!

As a plagarist of amateur status then I will refer to the Press Release

From the WESC website….

The Duchess, also a patron for the charity, last visited the organisation in 2008 and Tracy de Bernhardt Dunkin, Principal and CEO at WESC Foundation, formally welcomed The Duchess of Cornwall before escorting her to meet with staff and students to learn more about Neuro Visual Technology (NVT) and the advancements being made in this area at WESC.

Richard Ellis, Head of Visual Impairment Specialist Services, welcomed HRH to The Hub, where Richard, his team and young people at the WESC Foundation demonstrated some of the assessment equipment being used on campus to assess and aid children’s visual impairment.

Richard Ellis comments: “She seemed genuinely interested in the equipment and sat with both Harryot and Katie to learn more about the equipment they were using and how it helps them and other students here at WESC. We also spoke about the new developments and research taking place on campus concerning NVT thanks to our partnership with Lincoln University and the Knowledge Transfer Partnership and it was great to see her engaging so naturally with the children and staff.”

Whilst in The Hub, the Duchess also met with Jenny Langley and Stuart Young, ex-learners and now employees at WESC Foundation. Jenny and Stuart teach access technology to the young people at WESC and the Duchess even dedicated time to petting their guide dogs Janey and Archie.

HRH was then escorted through the grounds to WESC Foundation’s second transition house – Cornwall House – which WESC named after the Duchess and she formally opened during her visit.  

HRH also met with young learners enjoying education and play in the garden before meeting Tom and Maria, the two college learners who will be moving into Cornwall House in September along with three other housemates.

Tom and Maria spoke about their future plans and how being able to live in the house will hopefully give them the skills they need to one day live independently. Tom and Maria gave the Duchess a short tour of the new purpose built premises, which has specialist equipment including a talking microwave and weighing scales.

Tom comments: “I have met HRH before when she visited in 2008 and it was good fun to talk to her again. I enjoyed talking to her about my plans to live independently in Exeter and how Cornwall House will be a good stepping stone towards this. I told her about my radio show on our own station and we joked about her swapping The Archers and tuning in to my two hour broadcast!”


The day concluded with a meet and greet with some of WESC Foundation learners, staff, parents, volunteers and supporters before HRH listened to a performance by a 30 strong student and staff choir.


HRH then unveiled the ceremonial plaque to officially open Cornwall House before conducting an impromptu meet and greet with other guests before leaving for her next engagement.

Some photo’s taken by an amateur using a Blackberry!

IMG00574-20130716-1302 IMG00575-20130716-1302 IMG00576-20130716-1303






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