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The Forum Southend-on-Sea graced by Royalty!

Thursday, 4th February 2016


The Forum Southend-on-Sea graced by Royalty!

On Tuesday 2nd February 2016 HRH The Duke of Kent officially opened The Forum Southend-on-Sea and unveiled a stunning statue of Her Majesty The Queen.

These exciting ceremonies took place at the thriving library and learning hub in Elmer Square, Southend - developed through a unique three-way partnership.

This innovative arrangement saw Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, the University of Essex and South Essex College pooling resources to jointly provide the country’s first wholly integrated public, university and college library designed for the internet age - totally wifi enabled and with scores of available ICT, along with state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities.

By teaming up in this way they have together been able to provide far more for residents, visitors and students, than they would have been able to do individually.

The Forum Southend-on-Sea is also home to Focal Point Gallery and boasts a Big Screen just outside, which hosts a huge variety of material including live-screened opera performances.

To begin the visit, The Duke of Kent was introduced to key dignitaries, before meeting Year 3 youngsters from Thorpedene School in the Children’s Library.

He went on to Focal Point Gallery, and then ascended the landmark central staircase in the building for a short tour.

In one of the first floor meeting rooms, he spent time speaking with representatives of all three of the partners in The Forum. On returning downstairs, he first unveiled the plaque to mark the formal opening of the building.

Then The Duke crowned his visit by unveiling a special sculpture of The Queen, commissioned to mark The Queen’s Jubilee and being unveiled in time for her 90th birthday.

It was created by Essex born painter and figurative sculptor John Doubleday. Among his many other works are statues of HRH Prince Phillip, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Brunel at Paddington Station, Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square and numerous others, as well as portraits and paintings.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Leader, Councillor Ron Woodley said: “We were thrilled to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent today to officially open The Forum Southend-on-Sea and unveil the statue of The Queen."

“We are very proud indeed of The Forum because it is such an exceptionally successful and unique partnership project.

“It has already hosted a huge variety of sell-out talks, events, exhibitions, and much more – as well as the boosted library and learning facilities we can now offer residents, visitors and students, thanks to teaming up with the University of Essex and South Essex College."

“The Forum Southend-on-Sea has thoroughly revitalised this section of our town centre.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex Professor Anthony Forster said: “The Forum is an amazing building and absolutely integral to the success of our Southend Campus.  For our staff and students, it offers a modern place to learn, equipped with all the facilities they need and expect of a world class university.  It is also the product of a strong partnership that exists between the University, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex College and our growing economic impact on South Essex.”

Principal and Chief Executive of the South Essex College, Angela O’Donoghue CBE, said: “Today’s Royal event has been fantastic for the town. The Forum is an excellent addition to our Campus and our higher education students who study at the College’s University Centre Southend love the space. The HE classes have exclusive use of the third floor and it’s made a huge difference to their study environment.”

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