On 8 May 2014, The Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the new home of defence medical training at the former Whittington barracks site near Lichfield, Staffordshire. Ansons Solicitors were delighted to be one of the local businesses involved in sponsoring the event.
The Duchess, who arrived by helicopter, was greeted by large crowds and a host of local dignitaries who had joined together for a families day to celebrate the opening of the new headquarters of the Defence Medical Service. Ansons Solicitors senior partner and commercial property expert, Simon James, had the proud honour of being presented to the Duchess of Cornwall as part of a special ceremony which took place to celebrate the grand opening of the £138 million project.
Camilla, who has been the Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Services since 2006, was so impressed by the welcome she received, that she said:
“It is heartening to see that the good people of Staffordshire have recognised the significant role that those who serve in Her Majesty’s armed forces play at home, and abroad. It is wonderful to see so many from the local community are here to celebrate with them today. It shows the close ties between the medical services and the communities amongst which they live and work.”
The new state-of-the-art medical training facility will permanently house 1,400 military and civilian personnel, with an anticipated 7,000 students passing through each year. The centre provides a unified headquarters for the Defence Medical Service (DMS) and establishes DMS Whittington as a national centre of excellence for military medicine.
The official opening ceremony included a dedication service, prayers, a blessing and music by the Band of Royal Corps of Signals. The Duchess gave a short speech and unveiled a commemorative plaque, cut a cake and was then given a guided tour of the new facility by the new Commander of DMS Whittington, Surgeon Captain Stuart Millar.
As she left, Camilla took time to sign the visitors book and spend a few minutes talking to children form the local scouts, guides, air cadets and children from Whittington Primary School who had gathered to see her.
A team of legal experts from Ansons were at hand to meet members of the public and military personnel on the day, including wills and probate partner Marie Tisdale, commercial property trainee Jonathan Rowley, and Julie Tomasik and Elizabeth Mills from the residential property team.