Pestalozzi International Village Trust was delighted to receive a visit last week from its royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester.
The Duke has been a supporter of the Sedlescombe charity for more than 40 years and has seen many changes at the Village over this time.
During the visit the Duke was shown around Sainsbury House, designed by Hugh Casson in the 1960s. Sainsbury House was Pestalozzi’s last major refurbishment project It was radically updated in 2011 to provide additional student accommodation, new computer facilities and a small open-plan office space for the fundraising and administration staff.
The Duke had the opportunity to meet with current Pestalozzi scholars, inspect the computer suite and view some of the inspiring student photography from Pestalozzi’s recent art exhibition, Changing [My] Perspective.
Tenzin Dophen, a Tibetan student, who recently won a Hastings Youth Award for his campaigning with Students for a Free Tibet, presented His Royal Highness with a gift of a Tibetan khata (scarf). “Meeting The Duke was a pleasure. He showed a real interest in what we are doing here.”
Second year Nepali student, Shuvechchha Ghimire, was excited to meet a member of the royal family for the first time; “It was great to have the opportunity to show our photographs to the Duke. I feel elated to have had his comments. It was encouraging for me to experience his support for Pestalozzi - for us.”
The Duke was then joined by the charity’s chairman, Mr Paul Evans, Estate Manager Alex Whittington and those involved with the building of the eagerly anticipated Pestalozzi Centre to view the plans for the upcoming addition to the Pestalozzi estate. The £1 million project will provide a high-quality learning environment for Pestalozzi students and will feature flexible spaces to be used as tutorial rooms, conference spaces and meeting venues.
The Duke also met with members of the community that will be benefitting from the Pestalozzi Centre, including Sally Grieg and Laura Clarke of The Eggtooth Project. Sally noted: “We have been part of the Pestalozzi family for almost three years and are really looking forward to making the most of the Pestalozzi Centre in 2015. I know that it has not been an easy task to raise the funding for the Centre but this new resource will make a real difference to the work that we do here and we are grateful for the effort that Pestalozzi has put in.”
After viewing the upcoming plans for the Pestalozzi Centre The Duke said, “I am delighted to see that Pestalozzi and its multi-cultural student body continue to be an integral part of the local community.”