Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be in Birkenhead next week


07 January 2019
Liverpool Echo

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will visit Birkenhead next week on what will be their first official trip to Merseyside as a couple.

The royal couple will experience four "good news stories" in the Wirral town after accepting an invitation from local MP Frank Field.

Kensington Palace said the Duke and Duchess would "meet a number of local organisations that support and empower groups within the community".

The January 14 visit is believed to be a one-off visit for the couple who will see first-hand what's being done to fight poverty and help young people in the town as well as meet war veterans.

Mr Field, who has served Birkenhead since 1979, wrote to the couple himself and said he was "absolutely thrilled" when they accepted.

It will see them visit the Wilfred Owen World War I memorial in Hamilton Park followed by Tomorrow's Women Wirral - a charity committed to reducing female imprisonment and offending.

They will then go to The Hive, Wirral Youth Zone - a facility for young people aged between 8- 19, and up to 25 with a disability.

On Monday Mr Field said: "Although there are hundreds of projects I’d like the royal couple to see, the groups they will be meeting next week are characteristic of so much of the good work going on in Birkenhead.

"They will be seeing a stunning World War I memorial that sets new standards for sculpture.

"They will also launch new projects that are at the cutting edge of fighting poverty, draw even greater attention to the inspirational work being done by Tomorrow’s Women Wirral, and witness the impact The Hive is having on the lives of so many young people in Wirral."

The event at the sculpture, inspired by the famous poet, will also see Harry and Meghan meet people who fought in wars since the turn of the century including Iraq, with the Wilfred Owen Choir also set to perform with school children also in attendance.

Mr Field said the visit to Tomorrow's Women will be of great interest to Meghan in particular with her focus on countering modern slavery.

He added: "She will be talking to women there on these issues as well as how they successfully make the transition back from prison to society."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also meet the Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Geoffrey Watt, and council leader Phil Davies during the trip.

The location of the fourth visit will be announced on Monday.

Mr Field said the projects were chosen both by the couple and for their proximity to one another. That means they can spend more time meeting people from Birkenhead rather than travelling longer distances between engagements.

Mr Field also said he hoped the couple will come back to Birkenhead in the future adding: "They won't be coming to visit the same projects again, but I hope they will come back to the area as they continue to increase their workload.

"These are four good stories for Birkenhead and it's rather nice the nation will be able to hear them.

"Each of the projects are very dependent on private donations and I hope this visit will encourage further donations in the hope of securing their futures."

Former TV actress Meghan has only ever been to the North West on an official visit once before - when she accompanied the Queen to the opening of the new Mersey Gateway crossing back in June.

It's more good news for Birkenhead following recent announcements of regeneration in the town, including recent plans approved for hundreds of homes to be built at the Wirral Waters site around Dock Road.

Mr Field praised the royal family, saying they have always made a priority of showing interest in "bodies that fill gaps that the state cannot and doesn't reach", and "making sure money is raised so that those bodies have viable budgets".

Tom Houghton, Liverpool Echo


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