HRH The Earl of Wessex attended the 20th Anniversary, Integrated Education Fund Reception in Hillsborough Castle. Prior to the Reception HRH was greeted by The Lord Lieutenant of County Down, Mr David Lindsay, and went on to meet The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Mr David Montgomery, Campaign President, Integrated Education Fund
(IEF), Baroness Blood MBE, Campaign Chair, IEF and Ms Marie Cowan, Chair of Trustees, IEF.
The Integrated Education Fund (IEF), an independent charitable trust, was established in 1992 and is a financial foundation for the development and growth of integrated education in Northern. The IEF believes that educating children together across Northern Ireland’s traditional divide is an essential part of the reconciliation process and of building a society that respects and understands religious and cultural diversity. Today there are 62 integrated schools across Northern Ireland, educating over 21,000 children, representing around 7% of the school population.
In the Drawing Room and Throne Room HRH met a large number of invited guests representing the following areas: IEF Board of Trustees; Former IEF Board of Trustees; IEF Campaign Council Members; IEF Donor Groups; Integrated Primary School Principals; Integrated College Principals; Integrated Education Support Groups; Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education/All Children Together; and Founding Parents/School Governors.
During the Reception musicians from New Bridge Integrated College and Lagan College provided the background music.
Following a few words of thanks from Mr Montgomery, Ms Cowan presented HRH with a gift of a specially commissioned 20th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet containing personal reflections from people impacted by the work of the IEF.
The Minister of State, Mr Montgomery, Baroness Blood and Ms Cowan bade HRH farewell. Prior to departure HRH signed the visitors’ book