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HRH The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque at Freight Transport Association new Leeds office

HRH The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque at an opening ceremony of the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) new Leeds office this morning. HRH attended as the Patron of Transaid, an international development charity supported by FTA, lending a special significance to the Royal opening.

The Princess Royal – herself an HGV licence holder – along with the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, received a tour of FTA’s new premises and spoke to key staff.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Policy for the North of England, demonstrated FTA’s traffic and weather service. June Powell, General Manager for Tachofta introduced FTA’s tachograph service, explaining the importance of compliance for FTA member companies. General Training Manager Nic Allen spoke on FTA’s role in developing a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence.

HRH also met with chairmen and key FTA members in the north of England and was presented with a satellite navigation system and some FTA guidance notes on operating horse boxes, before giving a speech on Transaid’s work in Africa. In it, HRH spoke of how FTA’s support as the leading transport trade association can help further Transaid’s aims to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods through creating better transport.

FTA’s Chief Executive, Theo de Pencier, said:

"It was a great pleasure for FTA to receive Her Royal Highness and we were delighted that she took the time to open our Leeds office and say a few words thanking FTA for the work it does for Transaid. She has long taken an interest in the work of logistics and it was a pleasure taking her through some of the new developments in the sector.

"Transaid is the difference between life and death for so many men, women and children in the developing world and FTA is proud to lend its support and expertise to its team of workers."

Chris Saunders, Chief Executive of Transaid, said:

"Transaid is working in Zambia, where road deaths are the third biggest premature killer following HIV/AIDS and malaria, to develop commercial driver training to an internationally recognised standard.

"As well as the donations FTA’s members kindly contribute, the skills and knowledge contained within FTA are of significant value to our projects and we are hugely grateful to them for coming on board and helping us find solutions for transport challenges we face in the developing world.

"Since Transaid’s inception, HRH The Princess Royal has been a very active Patron and we are, as ever, incredibly proud to have such a hands on and high profile figurehead."

From December 2009, FTA members have been given the option to donate to Transaid when they pay their annual FTA membership fees. For more details on Transaid projects visit www.transaid.org

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