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Princess visits Cranbrook School

By Alan Smith

Princes Anne was in Cranbrook to officially open a new sixth-form block for Cranbrook School.

The Princess Royal toured the school, which is celebrating its 5th centenary this year, and spoke to many of the students.

In her speech, she recalled her own school days - not far away at Benenden School - and said boys from Cranbrook had always been popular guests at Benenden.

Headmaster John Weeds welcoming the Princess. Picture: Andy Payton. (2515401)
Headmaster John Weeds welcoming the Princess. Picture: Andy Payton. (2515401)

Headmaster John Weeds said the day had been one of the most enjoyable in his school career.

He said: "Her Royal Highness was so easy to get on with. She wanted to speak to everybody and was really approachable.

"She was absolutely the right person to help us celebrate this special occasion..

Dr Weeds said there had been "a real buzz about the school all day."

HRH Princess Anne makes a short speech about the school and her time at nearby Benenden School. Picture: Andy Payton. (2515405)
HRH Princess Anne makes a short speech about the school and her time at nearby Benenden School. Picture: Andy Payton. (2515405)

The Royal visit had helped make everyone aware of how special the school was - to still be going strong 500 years after its foundation in 1518, and still on the same site.

The new sixth-form centre was created by Clays Architects from the school's old gym, the centre was built by Coleman and James, building contractors, and delivered on-time and to budget.

The two-storey building features a relaxed sitting and games area downstairs, with a kitchen, and an extensive quiet study area on the first floor.

The school had to undertake an intensive fund-raising campaign with parents, alumuni and business sponsors to raise the £750,000 needed to finance the building, which actually opened its doors last September.

The old sixth form centre had been converted into a junior hub, to accommodate the new batch of younger pupils since the school lowered its entry age from 13 to 11.

Pupils from the school listen to the speeches. Picture: Andy Payton. (2515424)
Pupils from the school listen to the speeches. Picture: Andy Payton. (2515424)

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