Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has arrived in Northern Ireland and in the first engagement of the day has visited The Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys (EST) at its new site near Templepatrick.
The charity was founded by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE and can trace its roots to its first purpose-built riding centre for children with special needs and disabilities built in Sidmouth in 1978.
Her Royal Highness was greeted by Mrs Joan Christie OBE Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim and went on to meet Mr John Akers, Chief Executive EST and Ms Tina Symington, Manager EST Belfast.
At a reception in honour of the visit HRH had the opportunity to meet around 70 guests representing EST, veterinary support services, local sponsors and supporters.
HRH accompanied by Ms Symington joined other guests in the centres indoor riding area and watched a riding display by children and their helpers and also had an opportunity to meet them after the display. HRH accepted an invitation to present the children with rosettes.
Following a few words of welcome Mr John Akers went on to invite The Princess Royal to unveil a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the Centre.
Her Royal Highness accepted a posy from 8-year-old Miss Emily Payne from Portglenone and had the opportunity to meet other staff outside in the Donkey Barn who had gathered to bid farewell.
Notes to Editors
Her Royal Highness was greeted by:
Mrs Joan Christie OBE Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim and went on to meet
Mr David Traill Sheriff for County Antrim
Alderman Billy Webb Mayor, Newtownabbey Borough Council
Mrs Pat Webb Mayoress
Rev William McCrea MP Member of Parliament for South Antrim
Mr John Akers Chief Executive Officer, EST and
Ms Tina Symington Manager, EST Belfast