royal5March, 10, Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal visited Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. The visit, hosted by Salisbury Fire Station, highlighted the work of the service's Rural Safety team, including the unique funding partnership with the RSPCA to achieve specialist training equipment for large animal rescue.

Her Royal Highness, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, John Bush OBE, arrived at the fire station at 1400. After meeting local dignitaries including the High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Dame Elizabeth Neville; the Chairman of Wiltshire Council, Cllr Brigadier Robert Hall (who is also Chairman of Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority); the Mayor of Salisbury, Cllr Brian Dalton; and the Chief Constable of Wiltshire, Brian Moore, she was introduced to Chief Fire Officer Andy Goves.

After meeting the Rural Safety Team, Her Royal Highness watched animal rescue specialists from Amesbury fire station demonstrate how a horse that had slipped into the river would be safely retrieved. This demonstration used a mannequin horse and equipment funded by the RSPCA and techniques taught locally by the British Horse Society, and took place by the River Avon opposite the fire station.

royal8The Royal party viewed a second demonstration within the fire station grounds, where firefighters from Stratton - the service's other specialist animal rescue team - showed how machinery can be used to lift stricken animals. Her Royal Highness then had the opportunity to meet with a range of people who have either contributed to, or benefited from, the work of the Rural Safety Team. This included representatives from the RSPCA and British Horse Society, local vets, horse owners and farmers. There was also time to meet with firefighters from the demonstrations, and personnel from Salisbury Fire Station itself.

Chief Fire Officer Andy Goves, now retired, said it was a huge honour to welcome the Princess Royal to Wiltshire. CFO Andy Goves said: "I extended the invitation to her as we are very proud of our Rural Safety Team and the support we have received from our local RSPCA branches, and because of her personal interest in horse safety and rural issues. It was a superb opportunity for us to publicly acknowledge the many people, both within the Service and outside, who contribute to keeping Wiltshire safe."

Her Royal Highness was at the fire station for over an hour and before leaving received a posy of flowers from eight-year-old Amy Jupp, whose father Simon is a Crew Manager at Salisbury.


Posted: 11.03am, 07.04.11