Duchess of Cornwall visits Newport primary school

THE Duchess of Cornwall visited Newport today, Wednesday, to officially open the new library at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws.

Students were surprised and delighted when they were told this morning that they would be welcoming a royal visitor as part of the Duchess and Prince Charles’ visit to Wales.

Just before her 75th birthday, the Duchess was treated to a rendition Happy Birthday in Welsh and English, sung by the school’s students and staff in the Assembly Hall and accompanied by a cake and a handmade card.

She also met the school’s 5th grade librarians and her usual security detail was assisted – in fine style – by Millbrook’s officer Heddlu Bach (mini-police).

The Duchess of Cornwall gives a high five to pupils at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport. Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA Wire

She was accompanied by How to train your dragon made easy Author Cressida Cowell, as well as other writers and illustrators Tom Percival, Nadia Shireen, Children’s Prize winner Wales Connor Allen, and Bardd Plant Cymru Casi Wyn.

The show’s star was arguably the school dog Taliesin, who accompanies children to the library and helps less confident readers relax.

South Wales Argus: The Duchess of Cornwall meets school dog Taliesin at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport.  Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall meets school dog Taliesin at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport. Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA Wire

The Duchess of Cornwall is also the patron of the National Literacy Trust and she met representatives of the organization and its business partners to hear about the ongoing work to give young children better access to books.

The new Millbrook library is part of a nationwide campaign and program, Chase Rewarding Futures School Libraries. In addition to being a focal point for student learning, the books are intended to be available to local families who wish to borrow them and read them at home.

South Wales Argus: Children's author Cressida Cowell (on stage) speaks to pupils at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport.  Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA WireChildren’s author Cressida Cowell (on stage) speaks to students at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport. Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA Wire

Headmistress Keri Smith, who took up the post last September, praised the “fabulous” royal visit.

“It’s such an exciting day for the kids and the staff,” she told the argus. “It’s wonderful – they’ve never seen anything like this before and some of their favorite authors came to help start the library.

“In the minds of children, this is now the most important library in the world.

South Wales Argus: The Duchess of Cornwall cuts her birthday cake at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport.  Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall cuts her birthday cake at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport. Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA Wire

Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, said one in four primary schools in less affluent areas did not have a library.

He said the Trust and its partners are working with hundreds of schools like Millbrook “to transform their library space that will have a lasting positive impact on their well-being and their chances of living well”.

South Wales Argus: The Duchess of Cornwall meets pupils in the new library at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport.  Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall meets pupils in the new library at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport. Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA Wire

Sanjiv Somani is the Chief Executive of Chase Bank in the UK, which helps run the library program. He told that argus He found the figures on the lack of school libraries “astounding”.

“Give [children] Access to books opens up a world of possibilities for them,” he said. “To see the impact in such a short time was amazing.”

South Wales Argus: The Duchess of Cornwall is welcomed to Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport.  Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall is welcomed at Millbrook Primary School in Bettws, Newport. Credit: Finbarr Webster/PA Wire

And the new mayor of Newport, Cllr Martyn Kellaway, praised the school for its warm welcome from the Duchess of Cornwall.

“The kids won’t forget that,” he said, adding that the library would make “an amazing contribution” to the school and the community.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.