Royal visitor unveils new Girlguiding building in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 10:49 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:49 19 March 2018

HRH Countess of Wessex leaves after the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex leaves after the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

Danny Loo Photography 2018

A royal guest has officially opened a new building for the Girl Guides and Brownies in Welwyn Garden City.

HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

Her Royal Highness, the Countess of Wessex visited the Girlguiding Guessens District on Friday, March 16, to see the new building.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, GCVO, who is the wife of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived by helicopter at the police headquarters in Welwyn Garden City and was escorted to Guessens Road.

Girl Guides have been part of the Welwyn Garden City community since the town was created in 1929 and is still thriving with over 350 young members and 100 adult volunteers in 20 units (six Rainbow units, 10 Brownie packs, three Guide units and a newly formed Senior Section unit).

For 85 years a wooden building served as a place for the girls to meet up but it was cramped, had poor insulation, no hot water and had poor accessibility.

HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

In 2000, it was decided to replace the hut with a building and over the following 17 years the leaders and girls worked incredibly hard to first secure an extended lease, then gain planning permission and finally raise nearly £250,000 to purchase the lease and construct the new building.

The girls held fundraising events and a large proportion came from grants, donations from individuals, charities and contributions from businesses.

The new District Centre was completed in 2017 and the modern building is now home to two Rainbow units, three Brownie packs, two Guide units and has given them opportunity to open a new Senior Section unit.

The Countess of Wessex, who is the President of Girlguiding, met with girls who showed her how they pack up hygiene bags for the homeless, their baking skills, as well as how they plan their international trips.

HRH Countess of Wessex is shown around the centre by Sue Rees (left) at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is shown around the centre by Sue Rees (left) at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

The girls also showcased an array of games they play and conducted a science activity.

The Countess of Wessex also met with those who have massively financially contributed including staff from Tarmac, Velux who donated windows, Lioncrest Homes which donated builders’ time, and trefoil guide Joan Cobb.

District commissioner Sue Rees said: “Building the new Girlguiding centre has been a huge effort by so many people.

“It’s quite fitting and a real honour to have our Girlguiding President HRH Countess of Wessex opening the centre.

HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss and cadets at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss and cadets at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

“All of the girls were so excited to have a real princess coming to see them and I was so proud of them. What an amazing day.”

HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex leaves after the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex leaves after the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex leaves after the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex leaves after the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex is presented with a bunch of flowers by a Girl Guide at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is presented with a bunch of flowers by a Girl Guide at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex is presented with a bunch of flowers by a Rainbow at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is presented with a bunch of flowers by a Rainbow at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex is presented with a bunch of flowers by a Rainbow at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is presented with a bunch of flowers by a Rainbow at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows officially opens the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows officially opens the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides, Brownies and Rainbows at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides and Brownies at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides and Brownies at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides and Brownies at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex meets WGC Guides and Brownies at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss and chairman of Hertfordshire County Council councillor Richard Thake at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.HRH Countess of Wessex is greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss and chairman of Hertfordshire County Council councillor Richard Thake at the opening of the new Girlguiding Guessens District Centre in Guessens Road, Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Danny Loo.

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