The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall visit charity's HQ (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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"Barkingside is our spiritual home," says Barnardo's Acting Chief Executive Peter Brooks
The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall officially opened a charity's new headquarters in Barkingside today.
Her Majesty, who has been the charity’s patron for 30 years, and the duchess, its president since 2007, took a royal tour of the new building and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the new headquarters in Tanners Lane.
Hundreds of people gathered in the grounds of the Barnardo's headquarters to welcome the royal party and get a glimpse of royalty.
Elizabeth Warick, 103, of Peace House in Barkingside, was just one of many local people in attendance.
Speaking outside the Tanners Lane site, she said: "I am totally shocked. I can't believe I have met the Queen and got to personally shake her hand."
Her Majesty and the duchess arrived at the new office on time at 3pm, and were greeted by Sir David Brewer, Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Redbridge Mayor Felicity Banks and Barnardo's acting chief executive Peter Brooks.
Mr Brooks welcomed the royal party to the building and introduced them to the staff responsible for the charity's Care Leavers Service.
He said: "This official opening today is the culmination of years of hard work.
"It was a bold decision to open our new headquarters here but it was the right decison for us.
"Barkingside is our spiritual home, we have been here for 140 years and this place holds a vital link with our past.
"On behalf of staff, children, volunteers and families, we would like to thank your Royal Majesty and Her Royal Highness for visiting us today."
The silver-plated plaque unveiled by The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall will be placed in the foyer of the headquarters.
Before departing, Her Majesty and the duchess gathered around a Christmas tree where they welcomed by dozens of children from Barnardo's children's centres in Essex.
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