Right royal weather favoured the visit of Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria to Rushden yesterday to open the new hall of the Y.M.C.A. The Princess, who is a daughter of H.R.H. Princess Christian and a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, is very devoted to this movement, and has helped it in many parts of the kingdom. She motored from Quenby Hall, Leicestershire, to Rushden and took lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris at the picturesque Hall. After lunch she enjoyed a stroll round the gardens now in all their spring beauty. Patients from the neighbouring sanatorium had been invited into the park to meet the Princess. Mrs. Sartoris presented to Her Highness Dr. J. H. Crane, the medical officer, and Miss Allsopp, A.R.R.C., the matron. Subsequently, the Princess graciously consented to the "Independent" taking a photograph of her with the house party. The route from the Hall to the war memorial was lined with Girl Guides. Guards of honour awaited her at the war memorial consisting of contingents of the British Legion, under Captain Marshall Bailey, M.C., nurses under Lady Superintendents Miss Clipson and Mrs. Quincey, and Boy Scouts under Commissioner Preston. Her Highness placed a lovely wreath on the memorial, made by Mr. H. M. Seckington, F.R.H.S. This war memorial, designed by Mr. J. A. Gotch, is one of the most beautiful in the county and it attracted the admiration of the Royal visitor, who also noted with pleasure the bright flower beds and well kept lawns surrounding it.
On behalf of the ex-service men, Colonel John Brown, C.B., D.S.O., extended a welcome to the Princess and referred to the great sacrifices made by Rushden men. In helping to remind the public of those sacrifices, Her Highness had rendered an appreciated service. The ceremony in the Y.M.C .A. hall was presided over by Alderman C. W. Horrell, J. P., Lord Lilford, acting for the Lord Lieutenant who has gone to Canada, extended a cordial welcome to the Princess on behalf of the county, and assured her of Northamptonshire's loyalty and appreciation of Her Highness’s sympathy and support of all that tended to promote the welfare of the people of this country. Mr. Charles Claridge welcomed the Princess on behalf of the District Council and the town, and Mr. Charles Smith spoke on behalf of the old trustees of the building. The Princess, in a graceful little speech, expressed her appreciation of their hearty welcome. She assured them she would carry away very pleasant memories of her visit to Rushden. She heartily congratulated those who had worked so hard to establish that hall, for she knew how difficult it was nowadays to collect money. In declaring the hall open she wished them every possible success. The Princess then received some substantially filled purses and during the ceremony was presented with bouquets by little Miss Horrell and Master Reginald Cox, a ten-year-old Scout. A short dedication service followed led by the Rev. P. E. Robson, M.A., R.D., and the Rev. J. A. Sutherland, Sir Arthur Yapp, National Secretary of the Y.M C.A., gave a brief address. Thanks to the Princess were aptly expressed by Lord St. John of Bletsoe and Mr. A. H. Sartoris, C.C., J.P., and thanks to the donors by Mr. C. W. Horrell and Mr. W. E. Capon.
Tea and music followed, the Princess subsequently motoring to London. The Rushden Temperance Band played on the green, and Mr. J. W. Cooke’s orchestra at the Association Hall.
The Princess was dressed in a prune coloured costume, trimmed with fur and it was very noticeable how graciously she appreciated all that was said and done in her honour.