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Pippa Middleton becomes ambassador of Mary Hare School near Newbury

PUBLISHED: 15:01 28 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:01 28 June 2013

Mary Hare students with Pippa beside the Willow Hare

Mary Hare students with Pippa beside the Willow Hare

MAUREEN MCLEAN

Both Mary Hare School's new ambassador and the sun shine as superb boarding house for older pupils opens on a day of smiles

A close friend introduced Pippa Middleton to Mary Hare School, where the lives of young deaf people from across the UK are transformed during their time there. Pippa admits that watching a Christmas production of Mary Poppins by some of the youngest pupils “brought a tear to my eye.”

She was touched by their chirpy, positive approach and that this school, that does so much, relies on charitable donations to fund its spectacular work.

If we are honest there is always going to be some ‘baggage’ attached to being the sister of a future Queen and soon-to-be aunt of a future monarch, to go along with any perceived glitz and glamour of the associated lifestyle and the doors it might open. It’s always going to be hard to find those enjoyable ‘anonymous moments’ while making your own way in the world.

By becoming an Ambassador for Mary Hare at Snelsmore Common, near Newbury, Pippa has found a perfect way to walk that route.

As she explained on taking on the role: “I wanted to help out, because this is a local charity close to my family’s home, and I have been charmed by the inspiring children that attend, not least for their charismatic and heart-warming attitude to life.”

And so it was that she found herself declaring open Murray House, a fantastic boarding house for those approaching GCSE stage who need somewhere a bit more ‘grown up’ to study and relax in at the end of the school day. There was plenty to bring a tear to the eye on this day, too.

Firstly, the new house exists because of a tremendous fundraising campaign and, in particular, a substantial bequest by the grandmother of a former pupil. Members of the Murray family were there to see the house opened in her name and school principal Tony Shaw thanked the Mary Hare Foundation, the school’s fundraising arm, for their tireless support in raising the £2 million needed for Murray House. Foundation chairman Kirsten Loyd told of the impact Mary Hare had on the lives of young deaf people.

Pippa said: “The work carried out by everyone at Mary Hare is so important to young deaf people and is of national importance, being one of only two such schools in the UK. Giving deaf children the opportunity to choose what they want to study means they can choose what they want to do in the future.”

But she won’t mind at all that it was the words of Year 11 pupil Michael Massey that stick in the mind: “Mary Hare means a lot to all of us. In year 11 we are almost reaching the end of our journey and looking forward to the next chapter of our school careers. However, we have one big hurdle left coming soon, our GCSEs exams.

“Murray House is an amazing environment to live and study in. We get to have more support after school from the teachers and the teaching assistants in our dedicated study room. We can all focus without any distractions and make sure we all can reach our potential.

“On behalf of year 11 and all the year 11s of the future I would like to thank you for your contribution no matter how small – it has made a huge difference to us.”

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