The Countess of Wessex has succeeded Princess Alexandra as Royal Patron for Guide Dogs

Princess Alexandra has stepped down as Patron of the charity, after more than sixty years in the role. The announcement was made at an event to officially open the new Guide Dogs South West regional centre at Bristol this week.

Their Royal Highnesses visited the new centre, where they met people supported by the charity as well as some of its renowned dogs and puppies.

The royal guests were treated to demonstrations of the charity’s dog and puppy training classes as well as some of the ways Guide Dogs supports children who are blind or partially sighted.

Guide Dogs Chairman Jamie Hambro thanked the Princess for her contribution and commitment to the charity:

“We are incredibly honoured to mark, and to thank in person, Princess Alexandra for her wonderful contribution over the last sixty-seven years, first as our President, then since 1957 as our Patron.

“I hope that from our tour today you will feel proud of the organisation that has flourished under your Patronage. From our first four guide dog owners back in 1931, we are now helping thousands of people with sight loss, of all ages, to enjoy freedom and independence.

“We’re looking forward to working with our new Patron to continue to highlight our work which enables people living with sight loss to live the lives they choose.”

The Countess has a long-standing commitment to supporting organisations which help the visually impaired, and it’s not her first visit to a Guide Dogs centre. She and His Royal Highness Prince Edward visited the Guide Dogs centre at Forfar in Scotland in 2019, when they became the Earl and Countess of Forfar. They subsequently spoke via Zoom to people supported by the Guide Dogs Forfar centre in January this year.

The development of the Bristol centre was made possible thanks to individual supporters, and by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, founding partners of the regional centre.

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