Our Royal Patron

Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, has been appointed Royal Patron of Rockinghorse.

The news came as part of a visit on Wednesday 19 July by the Princess, who made a special trip to the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton, which was opened by Her Royal Highness back in 2007.

The announcement completes a unique double for the Princess – The Queen’s cousin – having been the original children’s hospital Patron since 1954. Rockinghorse is now one of the only Sussex based charities to hold Royal Patronage.

Her Royal Highness takes over patronage of the charity from Lady Mary Herries (formerly Lady Mary Mumford), who sadly passed away in April of this year. Lady Mary was Lady-in-waiting to Princess Alexandra for over 50 years, and was Rockinghorse’s one and only Patron in half a century. She had duly accepted the invitation from Dr Trevor Mann back in 1967 when our charity was founded.

During the visit, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra met with Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Dr Ryan Watkins, Consultant Neonatologist and Clinical Director of Children’s Services at the Alex, and Rockinghorse Chief Executive, Ryan Heal.

Her Royal Highness spent time visiting staff, patients and their families during a tour of the dedicated Children’s Emergency Department and the hospital’s surgical ward and critical care unit, before being welcomed at a reception hosted by the Alex and Rockinghorse. Civic dignitaries, including the High Sherriff of Sussex, and local MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, joined hospital and charity staff for a private reception with the Princess.

At the reception, the Princess unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark her visit (pictured above), celebrating 50 years of Rockinghorse and 10 years of the ‘new Alex’, since its move from Dyke Road in Brighton to the Royal Sussex County Hospital site.

Ryan Heal, Rockinghorse Chief Executive, thanked the Princess for accepting her role as Royal Patron, presenting Her Royal Highness with a specially commissioned diamond and gold Rockinghorse brooch designed by Brighton-based jewellers, Posh Totty Designs.

He said: “As you can imagine, we are honoured to be awarded this visit by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra at such a prominent time in both the charity’s and hospital’s history. It has been a truly momentous occasion and I sincerely thank everyone across the region who continues to support our cause for the sick children of Sussex.”

Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re very proud to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra to mark and celebrate 10 years of the new Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and 50 years of our dedicated partner charity Rockinghorse. We are enormously grateful for the support that Rockinghorse continue to provide and really value our partnership that is centred on going above and beyond for patients.”

To view all the pictures from the visit, please click here

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