Wednesday July 19 will be a special day for international disaster relief charity ShelterBox, as its President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, will visit its new Truro HQ and Visitor Centre, and meet some of the special people who give their time and talent to help families worldwide

This year’s annual visit to Devon and Cornwall visit by Her Royal Highness will have an extra significance. The Duchess, who is ShelterBox’s President, will officially open the charity’s new Truro headquarters and its exciting new public Visitor Centre which showcases its aid, its complex operations, and its rapid response to disasters worldwide.

Her Royal Highness was first introduced to ShelterBox in 2006. While on an official visit to Pakistan, The Duchess learnt about ShelterBox’s work helping families who had lost their homes in the Kashmiri earthquake. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall then became ShelterBox’s President in 2007.

Earlier this month, ShelterBox Canada Executive Director Stephanie Christensen had the honour of being invited to a reception for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at the Governor General’s house on Canada’s 150th birthday.

Stephanie said,

It was an honour to meet their Royal Highnesses on behalf of ShelterBox Canada, and see how enthusiastic they are about the work ShelterBox does around the world.

On July 19, The Duchess will tour Cornwall’s newest visitor attraction, the ShelterBox Disaster Relief Visitor Centre, an interactive hands-on exhibit that opened to the public last Saturday. Her Royal Highness will have the chance to meet schoolchildren packing a ShelterBox and see the charity’s hot and cold weather tents, as well as a structure made using a ShelterKit. A rickshaw will provide a novel photo opportunity, representing the portability of ShelterBox aid. Students from a local school will be joined by the Duchess in the classroom area of the Centre.

Then she will be introduced to seven of the charity’s most amazing fundraisers:

  • Alison Midwood (AKA Granny Binn) who did a sponsored ‘flight’ on Britain’s longest and fastest zipwire, at the age of 87 and following a cancer operation.
  • 8 year old Toby Little, who at the age of 5 sent hand-written letters to every country in the world and received heartwarming replies, now published by Penguin as ‘Dear World, How Are You?’
  • International cyclist, Devon carpenter Tim Bridgman, who with his wife Sharon set off to cycle 37,000 miles across four great land masses. In 2014 on the Bolivia/Chile border Sharon died in a fatal vehicle collision, but last tear Tim bravely completed the remaining 15,000 miles on his own, crossing the finishing line in Alaska last July.
  • Bodmin Rotarian Colin Bell, who completed the equivalent of 48 marathons for ShelterBox in one year, many of them with a green ShelterBox strapped to his back. He has also taken part in the Great North Run and the Truro Half Marathon among many others.
  • Sarah Thomson is a presenter on ITV’s Bear Grylls Survival School, and an endurance athlete and sports coach. She supported ShelterBox last year by running the whole 870 miles of the Wales Coast Path in 24 days, beating the previous record by 16 days.
  • The Rally4ShelterBox, run by local University students. The annual rally began back in 2010 supporting ShelterBox’s work after the Haiti earthquake. It is a 230 mile relay with participants either running, rowing, sailing, kayaking, cycling or swimming. This year’s course was completed in 39 hours, and so far has raised $6,200.
  • Liz Howell is one of our USA fundraisers, responsible for a recent donation of $210,000 for ShelterBox’s refugee projects in Iraq. A pediatric medic, Liz has been on many aid missions, including helping children in Haiti injured in the 2010 earthquake. Liz lost her husband in the 9/11 airplane attack on the Pentagon.

Next to meet Her Royal Highness will be some of ShelterBox’s Response Team members, who deliver aid to families in need. The Duchess will meet Lesley Garside, Liz Odell, Sue Nelson, Pat Prendergast, Johnny O’Shea, Ed Owen and Sallie Buck, who between them have taken part in dozens of strenuous deployments.

The Duchess will also receive a personal briefing in the Operations room on where ShelterBox is working in the world at present

ShelterBox CEO Chris Warham will host the tour, and says,

We are very honoured to have a visit from our President at such an exciting chapter in ShelterBox’s story. Her Royal Highness has always shown a keen interest in our work, and how good that she has been able to visit as we are opening a window on our world to the public. The Visitor Centre will be a source of great pride for the people of ShelterBox, and the people of Cornwall.


HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at the ShelterBox HQ on July 19, 2017