New patron Camilla marvels at Poppy Factory as charity renews veteran pledge (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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New patron Duchess of Cornwall marvels at Poppy Factory as charity renews veteran pledge
The Duchess of Cambridge made an inaugural visit to the Poppy Factory today as she was announced as a patron of the charity.
The 66-year-old joked employees of the factory “must be dreaming poppies” due to the amount they make each day.
She was welcomed to the factory in Richmond by the charity’s president Sara Jones, chairman Mark Perowne and chief executive Melanie Waters.
Mrs Waters said: “Our vision is that no disabled veteran who wants to work should be out of work and we feel that the Duchess’ help and support will help us with that.
“We are absolutely thrilled the Duchess has become a royal patron which is a first for us.”
On arrival the Duchess remarked the charity was “a fantastic organisation” and said she was “absolutely delighted” to become involved with the charity and praised its get you back to work scheme which helps disabled veterans find employment.
The scheme, which has been running for five years, has helped 315 people find work.
The Duchess was given a tour of the factory where she learnt how to make a poppy and put the finishing touches to a wreath the Prince of Wales will lay at a memorial in India on Remembrance Day.
While talking to the factory workers the Duchess took a particular shine to three-year-old golden retriever Kerrie.
Her owner Sheila Nutbeam, 60, also presented a poesy to the Duchess.
She said: “She was so lovely and she really liked Kerrie and her monkey toy.”
She then made her way to the cafe where she enjoyed tea and cake as well as a batch of poppy cupcakes she had brought with her.
The Poppy Factory is known for making the iconic poppy at its factory in Richmond where a team of 35 employees produce, by hand, the poppies, wreaths and crosses for the annual Remembrance Day events.
Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, a vice patron of the charity, was thrilled to welcome the Duchess on board.
He said: “She is the perfect patron for a charity such as this.
“Every time I have seen her meeting people she makes people feel as if they have endless amounts of her time.
“There is no rush and she just makes people feel warm and welcome - it is a real gift.”
The factory’s general manager Bill Kay, who took the Duchess on the tour, said: “It is a lovely occasion and nice for everybody here to be recognised.
“She was brilliant and spoke to absolutely everybody and they were thrilled to see her.”
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