Her Royal Highness was welcomed by The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr David Allam and Mr Des Lambert, Principal of the College, who conducted an extensive tour of the College estate.
Guests and civic guests also included Professor Fred Maillardet, Plumpton College President and Chair of the College's Charitable Foundation; Judy Llewellyn-Burke, Chair of Governors of the College; Mrs Kathy Gore DL, High Sheriff of East Sussex and Councillor, Dr Michael Turner, Mayor of Lewes.
Des Lambert, Principal said,"The College is very proud to have The Duchess of Cornwall as the patron of the College's Charitable Trust.
The Trust works hard to raise funds for students and resources. Colleges are operating in an increasingly competitive financial environment and alternative funding sources to Government grants need to be found. The Plumpton College Charitable Foundation has been established to facilitate this objective. We are delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness as Patron, to see what we are doing to improve the facilities for students and reach those who might not otherwise be able to attend the College.
For many years the Oswald Thomas Norris charity has been able to assist Plumpton College students in financial hardship and this charitable aim has now been incorporated within the Plumpton College Charitable Foundation. Such assistance will remain an important element of the charity's functions.
However, the charity's scope has also been widened and we are now raising funds to provide grants towards capital improvements at Plumpton College which would not normally be covered by Government funding, improvement of resources at the College, providing assistance for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, students' educational trips and assisting the College to aim its marketing at 'hard-to reach' prospective students".
Her Royal Highness toured the college estate, with an opportunity to see some new building developments including student facilities, in particular, the Library/Resources Centre, where she met with the staff, students and College Librarian, Ms Jill Perry.
The Duchess unveiled a plaque to commemorate the large wrought iron gates at the entrance to the quadrangle and new West Wing development. The gates were designed and built by students on Metalsmithing courses, with each student designing a roundel depicting one of the land based courses taught at the college. The roundels were made using traditional blacksmithing and modern metalworking techniques.
Her Royal Highness viewed a range of Forestry techniques including aerial rescue demonstrated by forestry staff and students.
At the Animal Care unit, the Royal party were introduced to Alison Leggett, (Unit Manager), and Dr Jenny Watkins, (Head of Department), meeting with students engaged in demonstrating handling and care of the very wide range of animals from rabbits and guinea pigs to reptiles, tortoises and lizards.
At the Children's Rural Education Centre, the Royal party met with pupils from Wivelsfield CP School, who used this visit to support a topic of 'Field to Fork', as part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum targets, 'Life processes and living things'.
The pupils were investigating the origins of the food they eat, they also focused on crops, identifying the different crops and grains produced on the farm. They actively participated in how these grains are processed by operating the manual grinding and flaking equipment, producing flour and porridge oat flakes that they recognise as products found in shops.
The Royal party visited the Horticulture and Floristry Centre, meeting with Mr David Blackmur, (Head of Horticulture and Floristry), Stephanie Willoughby (Head of Floristry) and several floristry and horticultural students. Horticultural students have designed and created award-winning show gardens for both Hampton Court flower show and South of England shows. At the Floristry Centre, Stephanie Willoughby, (Head of Floristry), discussed the designs for the forthcoming college open day.
At the Equine Centre the Duchess was welcomed by Michelle Johnston, (Head of Department). The Duchess watched a riding demonstration display within one of the indoor riding schools by some of the college's senior equine students and also met the college Shire horse display team. In the gallery area the Royal party met with staff, volunteers and pupils from Hope in the Valley, (Riding for the Disabled) group.
On departure, Her Royal Highness was presented with a floral posy creation of sweet peas, along with a Sussex trug containing products produced at the College. These included some of the college's award-winning wines, cheddar style cheese and honey from the college bees.