Canary Wharf College pupils grab the chance for brush with royalty

Young pupils at the newly opened Canary Wharf College have already enjoyed a brush with royalty after a flying visit from Princess Anne this week.

Children aged four to seven took time out on Wednesday from lessons at the free school, officially opened yesterday, to present flowers and wave to the royal.

She was making a visit by car to the adjacent Millwall Park to pick up a helicopter flight on other business.

But quick-thinking from Lorraine Cavanagh, the chief executive of the Docklands Settlement Centre (DSC) in East Ferry Road, which houses the school, meant the children didn’t miss their opportunity.

School principal Sarah Counter said: “We have twins in the reception class, so we gave them a posy of flowers each.

“We were waved across and they presented them to her.

“She asked who we were, what ages the school is for and she wished me well.”

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In a promotional frame of mind, the head teacher also hid a press release in with the flowers to give the royal some background information on the two week old school.

According to Ms Cavanagh, the Princess uses the park on a few occasions every year for helicopter travel when visiting Canary Wharf or the City.

Ms Cavanagh said: “It was already arranged where the helicopter would land, which was further away from the children so they wouldn’t have seen it.

“He reversed the helicopter and came back towards them so they could see it.

“It was a really nice gesture.”

Canary Wharf College is the first free school in Tower Hamlets, one of 24 to open in England this month.

The Queen is the patron of the DSC.