PRINCESS Anne was one of the first people to take in the new facilities at RAF Fylingdales’ new £12.5m combined mess.
HRH The Princess Royal made a secret two hour visit to the base on Wednesday (9 March) where she enjoyed a tour of the early warning station’s facilities, unveiled a commemorative plaque and met personnel.
The princess arrived just before 9.30am on the Queen’s helicopter accompanied by her lady-in-waiting and personal protection officer but chose to walk the 400m from the landing site to the radar to take in the visita of the North York Moors National Park.
She was then briefed on the history of RAF Fylingdales and was shown a photograph of her father Prince Phillip, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, which was taken when he visited the station back in July 1965.
Princess Anne also visited the nerve centre of the station- the Space Operations Room - and travelled by road to the new combined mess - which replaces the original 1960s accommodation where she signed the visitors’ book and went on to meet a complete cross section of 100 station staff.
Squadron Leader Ian Wright said the princess was extremely engaging and interested and spoke to everyone there before unveiling a commemorative plaque and posing for a photograph with the station’s executives.
Building work began on the £12.5m project to build the mess in May 2009 and it was completed in September last year.
Sqd Ldr Wright said: “Demolition of the existing structures is continuing, allowing more of the station to be returned to moorland, part of an ongoing drive to rationalize the RAF Fylingdales estate, thereby minimizing and maximizing conservation value.
“The mess has been built to the highest standards of energy conservation, including solar-assisted domestic hot water and has been clad in timber to minimize visual intrusion.
“It represents a massive improvement in the accommodation provision at RAF Fylingdales with all the rooms en-suite and finished to a high standard.
“The fundamental principal of the 3-Mess system has been maintained with separate living, dining relaxation and bar officers for officers, senior non-commissioned officers and junior ranks whilst the opportunity has been taken to centralise core service and kitchen areas.
“The improved facilities represent a great leap forward, particularly for the junior ranks.”
After her visit to RAF Fylingdales Princess Anne, who Sqd Ldr Wright said had left a “deep and lasting impression” on the personnel at the base, left for Buckingham Palace.