Duke proves that he is a class act on Ripley visit

RIPLEY Court School welcomed HRH The Duke of Kent to dedicate a new memorial garden and open a food technology and music building at their Rose Lane home.

Set in the school’s tranquil walled grounds, the memorial garden commemorates the 40 former pupils who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and subsequent conflicts.

Following a short service of dedication conducted by The Reverend Christopher Elson, Vicar of Ripley, His Royal Highness spoke of the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, of which he is President.

The garden was designed by Stuart Hourigan, the school’s Head Groundsman, and built with the assistance of former Head Gardener, Kevin Peacock.

It incorporates three of the ceramic poppies from the 2014 commemorative display at the Tower of London, plus stone tablets designed by local stone-mason, Richard Bennett.

The commemorative tablets and memorial garden will form the focus for the school’s annual remembrance ceremony
in November and will be available for quiet reflection throughout the year.

Watched by local dignitaries and councillors, governors, and the 280 pupils of Ripley Court and their parents, His Royal Highness then toured the new Orchard Building.

The Duke found time for a brief afternoon tea stop in the state-of-the-art food technology room where Year 5 pupils presented baked treats.

There was then time to peer through a microscope at cells, plus a VIP look at the well-equipped new music suite before the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the signing of a scroll.

Having spoken to many of the pupils, aged from three to 13, His Royal Highness was given a rousing farewell amid the waving of over 300 Union Flags.

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