8 JulWelcome, Your Royal Highness!
The morning after the DAY before… we asked our CEO, Lyn, to write a few words on how it felt preparing to meet HRH…
“Honestly – where to begin? Writing this early Saturday morning – visit day plus one – and we are all shattered but very happy and proud. I cannot believe that our small team have organised a full day national conference as well as a Royal visit – within the space of 3 months!
“It was touch and go the night before whether the visit would go ahead as the weather across the rest of China was terrible and stormy, causing huge numbers of cancellations and delays to flights and trains. Several of our guests and donors simply couldn’t find transport routes while some took really circuitous routes, travelling hundreds of additional miles and crisscrossing the country.
“The big day dawned and we threw ourselves into last minute preparations and adjustments, thankful that HRH Princess Anne was able to get a train that morning following cancellations to her planned journey the night before. The conference started at 10am with me acting as MC while the designated MC battled to find alternative transport to his cancelled flight! It was fantastic to open to a full house of delegates, but for the team – and me! – tensions were still running a little high waiting for our special guest.
“The Royal advance party were wonderful and so friendly, determined to make it work and for us to enjoy the visit. HRH due to arrive at the welfare centre (orphanage) at 2.15pm.
“The orphanage director (Mr Long) had done an amazing job of renovating and equipping the conference room: a shell in April, now a very smart venue well presented in time for delegates (gone were the heaps of rubble and general signs of decay, all completely spruced up, not to mention the brand new lift!) Out with the red carpet and on with the suits; shortly after lunchtime, we were ready to greet HRH The Princess Royal.
“Excitement built and even though the chance of rain was 10% we were messaged to have 2 umbrellas on standby. As the cleaners kept cleaning we kept rehearsing our introductions, our “Your Royal Highnesses”, “Mams” (rhyming with jams) and who’s who! I cannot remember feeling as nervous for a long time.
“Alan and I lined up by the red carpet in the hot sunshine with Director Long and his big boss, Director Chen. The entourage swept in, lights flashing, and HRH arrived, the car pulled up right in front of the very spot. Such precision.
“HRH is of course a pro at these events and just chatted and asked all the questions. When she asked ‘what made you first come to China’ Alan had everyone laughing in the lift with some anecdote about my first experience of China, how I was so shell shocked I thought it was a big mistake and then as I met him at Heathrow said, “You’ve GOT to come!” He was great and very natural chatting with the British Ambassador and the Lady in Waiting.
“The visit was such a treat and I promise to share more very soon… For now, please join with us to celebrate a successful day ending with us wondering ‘did that really happen’??
“Love, Lyn x”