Island prepares to welcome the Princess Royal

PRINCESS ANNE ... in South Shields today.

PRINCESS ANNE ... in South Shields today.

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Ballavartyn Equestrian Centre, in Santon, will be officially opened by Princess Anne today (Tuesday).

It’s one of a number of official engagements to be carried out by the Princess Royal during her visit to the island.

The programme also includes a visit to St German’s Cathedral, for a briefing on the Cathedral Development Campaign.

Princess Anne, whose daughter Zara Phillips had her first child last week, was recently accepted the role of patron for the £10 million project, for a period of five years.

She will visit the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s headquarters at St John’s, as well as the prison at Jurby.

Ballavartyn has recently undergone major redevelopment. Its facilities now include an all-weather race track and indoor arena with glassed viewing gallery.

Princess Anne, a talented event rider, was the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympic Games.

The cathedral project is due to be completed by 2018.

It includes a new cloister providing an education centre and a new pipe organ, enhancing space for worship and concerts, a lychgate/bus terminus and conceptual gardens, improvements at Corrin Hall for sports and leisure activities, and the creation of an endowment fund.

Princess Anne has visited the island on a number of occasions dating back to the 1970s.

Her most recent visit was in July 2008.

On that occasion she presided over the Tynwald Day ceremony, and officially opened Hospice Isle of Man’s headquarters.

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