The Countess toured Northumberland with visits to Amble, Blyth and Hexham.

Today, The Countess of Wessex continued her tour of Northumberland with visits to Amble, Blyth and Hexham. HRH was accompanied by The Duchess of Northumberland – Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland since 2009. Her Grace is best known for redeveloping The Alnwick Garden at Alnwick Castle.

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© Andrew Mounsey Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

HRH started her day quite early on, at 10 am with visit to The Coquet Shorebase Trust, where The Countess met volunteers, trustees, members and some disabled users of the watersports facilities. The Countess observed various watersports’ equipment and met schoolchildren from the town’s James Calvert Spence College who attend the centre.

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© Andrew Mounsey Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

The Coquet Shorebase Trust is a community based watersports charity centre, which provides watersports courses and training for all. This is an official teaching establishment for both the British Canoe Union and the Royal Yachting Association, which are the governing bodies for kayaking, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and powerboating.

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© Andrew Mounsey Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

Then, The Countess and Duchess visited Pride of Northumbria on Queen Street – Amble’s main shopping street and it is also the town’s main thoroughfare. There she met Culinary Institute of Northumberland trainees and apprentices, and handed out certificates to successful trainees.

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© The Ambler – Amble’s Community Newspaper via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected and view more images of the visit.

Pride of Northumbria is a shop/cafe in which the Culinary Institute of Northumbria is based. The shop also sells some local produce. Pride Culinary Institute is a cookery school offering fully funded City & Guilds NVQ Level 1 qualifications in Food Preparation and Cooking. The institute also provides private catering courses for individuals and companies.

Afterwards the Royal party walked short distance to the Amble Harbour Village via the Town Square, where The Countess met local residents and children, including youngsters from Brambles Childcare Centre.

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© The Ambler – Amble’s Community Newspaper via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected and view more images of the visit.

Amble Harbour Village is situated in an idilic location right on the Harbourside which opened in late March 2015. Village is open throughout the year, 7 days a week.

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© Amble Harbour Village via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected and view more images of the visit.

The Countess and Duchess toured the Amble Harbour Village where they met various business owners and volunteers from Amble RNLI, including coxswain John Connell and Amble Lifeboat Fundraisers vice-chairman Eleanor Cassidy. HRH learnt more about its Shannon Lifeboat Appeal.

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© The Ambler – Amble’s Community Newspaper via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected and view more images of the visit.

The Harbour Village hosts 15 fantastic independently run retail ‘pods’ providing a range of wonderful, bespoke gifts and unique art and crafts as well as delicious food and drink. Here you will find out more about the ‘pods’.

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© Amble Harbour Village via Facebook feed. Click on pic to be redirected and view more images of the visit.

Sophie also visited Northumberland Seafood Centre, which sells fresh, locally caught fish and shellfish and hosts cooking demonstrations from local chefs, and regular public fish sales on Thursday afternoons, Friday afternoons, and Saturday mornings. The Countess unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit, before departing for Paddlers Park.

Around noon, The Countess and Duchess visited Paddlers Park, where they met the Mayor, members of Amble Town Council, volunteers from Amble Community Team and local schoolchildren.

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© Andrew Mounsey Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

HRH The Countess of Wessex unveiled a plaque to officialy open newly re-vamped play facility, where outdoor adult exercise equipment has been installed, along with a ping pong table. The paddling pools have been replaced with a water feature, and a bright play surface features colourful images of puffins, dolphins and hopscotch.

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© Andrew Mounsey Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

The £210,000 revamp was organised by Amble Town Council, with money from Cllrs Jeff Watson and Robert Arckless, Northumberland County Council and Amble Town Council. After the visit, Coun Weir said: “The Countess kept on saying how wonderful Paddlers Park was and she said that it was a great community effort.”

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© Andrew Mounsey Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

Ahead of today’s visit, Julia Aston, director of Amble Development Trust said “We are thrilled that the town is hosting a visit from Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex and Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland. It would be wonderful if we could give the Countess as warm a welcome as we gave Prince Charles when he visited. This will be a great opportunity to show off some of the town we are so proud of.” The Royal party then left Amble by helicopter.
Very detailed article with pictures and video about the Amble visit, can be found here.

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© Neil Stalker Photography – picture posted with kind permission from photographer

Then, The Countess of Wessex visited the Blyth Tall Ship project, at South Harbour, Blyth. Blyth Tall Ship is recapturing the spirit of adventure and global entrepreneurship that was employed in Blyth to discover the Antarctic Landmass 200 years ago in a sailing ship called the Williams.

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© RNLI, Blyth Lifeboat – picture posted with kind permission. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

Local pupils gave The Countess of Wessex a warm welcome to the Blyth Tallships Workshop, where HRH met some of the youngsters and apprentices involved in the project. Sophie also met Newcastle University marine officials based at Blyth Harbour.

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courtesy of News Post Leader online paper via Twitter feed

The Countess of Wessex also met members (volunteers) of Blyth RNLI Lifeboat. HRH took an interest in what roles they all play at the Station and said “Thank You” for all the work that they do in saving lives at sea. Currently, RNLI has two lifeboats on service at Blyth, “D-606 Jennie B” and The B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat, the Vic and Billy Whiffen.

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© RNLI, Blyth Lifeboat – picture posted with kind permission. Click on pic to be redirected & view more images of HRH’s visit.

HRH’s visit ended with renaming the tallship ‘Williams II’ by smashing a bottle of champagne on its side by The Countess. ‘Williams II’ will be the host Tall Ship for the Tall Ship Regatta from Blyth in August and will be the centre pice of the panned Blyth Maritime Festival from the charities quayside location on 3rd and 4th June 2017.

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courtesy of News Post Leader online paper via Twitter feed

For more info on the visit, click here & here. You will find there quotes, videos & more pictures! I really liked the video, where Morpeth-based choir ‘VoiceMale‘ sang for the Countess of Wessex during her visit to Blyth. Even more pictures of HRH’s visit, here.

Afterwards, The Countess of Wessex attended a Tea Party at Isabella Community Centre. The party has been organised in order to celebrate people in the county who have 90th birthdays this year. The event was organised by Coun Margaret Parker, the Mayor of Blyth Town Council, to tie in with The Queen’s own 90th birthday tomorrow.

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courtesy of News Post Leader online paper via Twitter feed

Sophie said: “Can I say thank you very much for having me here today. And to all of you who have already celebrated your 90th birthdays, congratulations. And to those that are just about to – congratulations. I hope you’ve done justice to the wonderful tea that’s been provided for you today, and thank you to all the ladies that’ve been working very hard on your behalf. I’ve had such a wonderful welcome here today, lots of wonderful people turning out to say ‘hello’. And of course today is the eve of Her Majesty’s birthday, and I will indeed take your very best wishes back to her. Thank you very much for having me here today. Have a wonderful rest of your afternoon. Thank you.

https://twitter.com/newspostleader/status/722769393759973377
courtesy of News Post Leader online paper via Twitter feed

The Centre is owned by the Isabella Community Association and managed by a dedicated committee of local users. The Association was formed in 1989 with the aim of improving the life of local inhabitants, advancing education and providing facilities for social welfare and leisure. The Centre was opened in 2003. More info, pictures and video (including speech), click here. Tons of pictures, click here.

Final step for HRH – visiting the ‘Big Story’ Exhibition at Hexham Abbey, Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537, the Abbey has been the parish church of Hexham.

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courtesy of Martin Sheppard/Diocese of Newcastle via Flickr, click on pic to be redirected & view more images of the visit.

HRH was greeted by the Mayor of Hexham Coun. Trevor Cessford and Canon Dagmar Winter. The Countess was given a tour of the Abbey where she met volunteers, members of the congregation and children taking part in art workshops. HRH also met Dr Tom Kelsey, chairman of the Abbey’s conservation group. She was shown the priory buildings, which have been reunited with the Abbey for the first time since the reign of Henry VIII.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastlediocese/sets/72157667380930705
courtesy of Martin Sheppard/Diocese of Newcastle via Flickr, click on pic to be redirected & view more images of the visit.

The Countess of Wessex viewed The Hexham Abbey’s new interactive exhibition ‘The Big Story’, which charts the building’s 1,300-year history, and helps you to discover more about this remarkable Abbey. To learn more, click here. The Countess met education and community officer Toni Bush and children dressed as St Etheldreda and St Wilfrid.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastlediocese/sets/72157667380930705
courtesy of Martin Sheppard/Diocese of Newcastle via Flickr, click on pic to be redirected & view more images of the visit.

Canon Dagmar Winter, Rector of Hexham, said: “It’s wonderful that after Prince Edward visited in 2011 to see the plans and blueprint for the Abbey visitor centre, his wife is returning to see for herself exactly what has come of it.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/newcastlediocese/sets/72157667380930705
courtesy of Martin Sheppard/Diocese of Newcastle via Flickr, click on pic to be redirected & view more images of the visit.

Sophie’s tour ended with a cup of tea in the great hall. As she signed a visitor book, the Countess said: “I will have to report back to my husband that the work has been completed in style.”
For more info about that portion of the visit is here. Gallery of HRH’s visit can be found here. It looks like it was a wonderful day, and Sophie was warmly welcomed in every place she visited.

Outfit & jewellery:
Prada Gabardine wool jacket with matching dress or skirt.
UFO earrings.
Clutch by Sophie Habsburg Design in Ginny Style.
LK Bennett Maddox wedges in pink.
T square Tiffany bracelet.
Watch by Longines, I believe from “Le Grande Classic” collection.  

One thought on “The Countess toured Northumberland with visits to Amble, Blyth and Hexham.

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