School gets Royal visit in 40th year

THE Duke of Gloucester will help a school named after his late brother celebrate its 40th anniversary tomorrow.

Prince Richard will unveil a commemorative plaque at Prince William School in Oundle 40 years to the day after it was officially opened by his brother, in whose honour it was named.

Assistant headteacher Graham Snelling said: “We are excited. The students are getting excited. They haven’t experienced a Royal visit and it’s nice to get one in the Diamond Jubilee year.”

The Duke, who has an estate at Barnwell and regularly visits Oundle’s rowing club, of which he is patron, will eat lunch with pupils before listening to the school’s award-winning jazz band, observing a sixth-form biology practical lesson and watching a dance performance from pupils.

Catering pupils will serve the Duke lunch, which will be attended by eight members of the school council, two pupils from each year group, staff and the school governors.

The Prince William School detachment of the Army Cadet Force will provide a guard of honour of the plaque unveiling.

The school’s jazz band, which won its category in the Oundle Music Festival recently, will perform for the Duke and pupils from various age groups will give a dance performance.

He will also see a series of displays made by pupils.

The Duke’s older brother, Prince William of Gloucester, died in a plane crash a few months after officially opening the then Oundle Upper School in 1972.

Prince Richard visited the school in 1974 when it changed its name in his honour.

He visited the school for its 25th anniversary celebrations, but it will be the first time he has officially visited since.

Mr Snelling, who joined the school in 1974, said: “It’s a continuing link we have kept with that part of the Royal family.

“It’s in honour of his brother, who was here initially. It’s nice he is prepared to visit us.”

The school’s motor vehicle training classes are held on the Duke’s land at Barnwell.