InsideNC winners dish on royal reception


Days after InsideNC’s Royal Visit Lottery contest, four lucky winners had a chance to attend a private reception wtih Sophie, Countess of Wessex at Benchmark on Sept. 15.  Here is what they had to say:

I was delighted when I found out Friday morning that I was a lucky lottery winner to attending the private reception to launch the Canadian Food and Wine Institute Research Centre in the presence of Sophie the Countess of Wessex.

We gathered at Benchmark on Sat. afternoon to await the Countess’ arrival from the WEVC  and I thought – wow – the weather Gods couldn’t have been nicer – the Campus looked dazzling! But not as dazzling as Sophie!  She looked gorgeous in a beautiful navy suit.  

She didn’t make a speech at the reception, but she was totally gracious (considering she’d been on the go at events all day) as President Dan took her around and introduced her to each of us there. It was also wonderful to meet her father, Christopher Bournes Rhys-Jones  who was travelling with her, as was Lt-Gov David Onley’s wife Ruth Ann.

It was my second brush with the Royal Family and this one left an equally indelible impression! The College staff who put that event together should be very proud – a very classy reception! 

Karen McGrath, director of Library and Bookstore Services


For me, the best part of the event was mingling and meeting lots of new people from the college and the community in such a festive atmosphere; the royal visit seemed to energize the crowd…or maybe it was the great NC food, wine and beer.

Shari Virtue, professor, English as a Second Language, International Department


I walked into the Royal Reception feeling like I had won the “Golden Ticket” – absolutely thrilled to have been one of the winners!  It was very interesting to hear of the proper protocol that we were all to follow – I practiced “Your Royal Highness” in my head a few times!  I was a bit of rock-star in my daughter’s eyes, as she is a huge fan of the Royal Family. 

Sophie was gracious and looked stunning and our students who served at this Royal event did an absolute stellar job!

Jill English, Academic advisor,  Career Planning and Academic Advising Centre,  Academic and Liberal Studies


I was truly honoured to be given the opportunity to meet Her Royal Highness of Wessex (Sophie). She was lovely and so much smaller than I expected!  I can now say I shook the hand of a Royal Family member, which is pretty cool.

The event was well organized and timed down to the minute. The food looked great and, of course, whenever you get to sip Dean’s List Chardonnay you know you’re part of something special! I was thrilled to be part of the historic event for our College!

Sandy Herkimer, Internship and Special Projects coordinator, School of Environmental & Horticultural Studies

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