Woodbridge welcomes Royal visitor to mark 500th anniversary of Thomas Seckford
A special commemorative plaque was unveiled in Woodbridge on Wednesday 10 June by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester, in celebration of 500 years since the birth of the town’s famous benefactor, Thomas Seckford, in 1515. The Duchess’ visit was planned by The Seckford Foundation who, through their provision of education and care of the young and elderly in the community, carries forward the legacy of Thomas Seckford today.
The Duchess unveiled the plaque alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Euston, at Thomas Seckford’s tomb in St Mary’s Church on Church Street in the town.
Roger Finbow, Chairman of The Seckford Foundation, said: “We were honoured to receive a visit from The Duchess of Gloucester, and pleased that Her Royal Highness was able to see all the great work that is ongoing at each organisation within The Seckford Foundation today, as well as our plans to carry the legacy forward for generations to come.
“Thomas Seckford has had an enduring impact on Woodbridge and across Suffolk, and his legacy is as powerful today as it has ever been. We are delighted that the great man has been recognised further with this special visit from The Duchess and the unveiling of the commemorative plaque.”
During Her Royal Highness’ visit, The Duchess met with representatives from The Seckford Almshouses and Jubilee House care home in Woodbridge, including 94-year-old Almshouse resident Patrick Warren, who was recently presented with the Ushakov medal by Therese Coffey MP for his involvement in the Arctic convoys during World War Two. The Duchess also met six young students from the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust and was presented with a posy by Phoebe Bell, aged 11, from The Abbey at Woodbridge School.
Also during Her Royal Highness’ visit, awards were presented to Joley Williams and Melissa Postma, who both recently completed the Seckford Springboard programme and have since gone on to achieve full-time paid employment. Seckford Springboard enables young people aged 25 and under to access education, employment and training through apprenticeships, mentoring or grants. Joley, who completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery, is now working alongside chefs at Beccles Free School, Woodbridge School and The Seckford Almshouses. Melissa, who gained qualifications in ICT and Business Administration, now works in the HR department at Willis in Ipswich.
The unveiling of the commemorative plaque is one in a series of special celebratory events throughout the year in recognition of the 500th anniversary of Thomas Seckford.