The Queen Enjoys Her Trip To Sussex

1 December 2017, 05:52

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The Queen has been presented with a posy by a Labrador while visiting a charity that trains dogs to help their disabled owners live independent lives.

The visit to Canine Partners in Heyshott, near Midhurst, West Sussex, was held to mark the charity's milestone of having 400 dogs looking after disabled owners.

The Queen was presented with a bunch of flowers by Yarna, a seven-year-old black Labrador descended from the Sandringham Magpie, one of the Queen's own breeding lines.

Yarna did a curtsy before dropping the posy at the feet of the Queen instead of presenting it directly to her.

The dog's handler, Alison Bailey, said: "She did her very best, she is a dog not a robot, I am delighted with her."

The Queen also stroked a 12-week-old black Labrador called Flint. The dog's trainer Ruth Narracott said: "She was very relaxed and very interested.

"She wanted to know about his breeding, whether we bred him or whether we breed them outside, how old he was and how relaxed he was."

The Queen also met staff and volunteers who act as adoptive parents for the puppies until they are about 14 months old and are able to embark on the next stage of assistance dog training.

She was shown how the dogs are trained to assist their owners, with demonstrations including a dog retrieving clothes from a washing machine, opening a door, picking up dropped keys and wallets, and helping someone take their coat off.

At the end of her visit, the Queen unveiled a plaque to mark her visit and she was presented with a selection of presents for her corgis to which she replied: "Oh I say, thank you very much."

The Queen followed in the footsteps of grandson Prince Harry, who visited the centre in 2010.

Jackie Staunton, Canine Partners' chairman of trustees, said: "It is such an honour for us to welcome the Queen to our training centre in West Sussex."

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The Queen went on to visit the Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) to watch a performance by 70 members of the youth theatre including a scene from their forthcoming Christmas production Beauty and the Beast, along with an appearance by Oona, a life-size elephant puppet from their previous production Running Wild.

The Queen also watched songs from CFT's production of Fiddler on the Roof, including If I Were A Rich Man performed by original cast member Omid Djalili.

Afterwards she unveiled a special plaque commemorating her visit, before she went outside and met members of the public.

She was then escorted to the Minerva Theatre for lunch in the restaurant with guests including Dame Patricia Routledge,known for her role as Hyacinth Bucket in the BBC sitcom Keeping up Appearances, who lives in Chichester and first appeared at the theatre in 1969.

The Queen first visited the theatre in 1962 when she and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a charity performance of Uncle Vanya directed by the then Sir Laurence Olivier, the theatre's first artistic director.

They returned two years later to watch a performance of Othello starring Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Maggie Smith.