THE Princess Royal helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of Moreton’s Fire Service College by officially opening a new accommodation block.

Princess Anne, who is patron of the Firefighters Memorial Trust, had a tour of the college’s new £2.2million simulation training suite and 100-bed Braidwood House today before giving it her royal seal of approval and unveiling a plaque to mark the occasion.

Joining her were local dignitaries including Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Peter Holland, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, Colin Livett, chairman of the Firefighters Memorial Trust, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire Dame Janet Trotter and Clive Bennett, Chairman of Cotswold District Council.

Unveiling the plaque to officially open the new £6.3 million Braidwood House, Princess Anne said: “As somebody who’s been here before, it’s really nice to note the changes but also to note the investment and the importance placed in this college for the future. It’s reflected by everybody.”

She also spent some time speaking to staff at the London Road site, owned by Capita, before she was waved off by children from St David’s and Dormer House Primary Schools to a musical backdrop from the Devon and Somerset Fire Service Band.

Lucas Johnson, on the ICT team, said: “She asked me how I created the simulation and the software and the teams that are involved in creating it. She was very interested in it.

“She was very friendly and down to earth.”

David Cowen, operational director, who gave her a tour of the new accommodation block, said: “She was very knowledgeable about the construction and everything else.

“She talked about all the old buildings and we talked about how we demolished everything. She was very impressed.

“It’s great. Any of the royal family, it is a pleasure to for them to come. Everybody rises to the occasion and it’s given us a real opportunity to showcase the college.”

Di Boydell, bar manager at the college, said it was lovely to meet her.

“It was a lovely experience,” she said. “We just chatted about my job. She was very friendly.”

Simon Callyer, operations support, added: “It’s really nice she’s taken some time to come and see us and meet some of our staff. It’s very striking how she’s very personable.”

Six-year-old Jessica Fuller, who is daughter of chief fire officer Paul Fuller, of Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service, presented the princess with a posy before she left.