The Princess Royal will travel to Ellesmere next month to visit the birthplace of Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton, the inspirational social activists who founded the Save the Children charity more than a century ago.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, who is Patron of Save the Children, will also visit the Jebb Memorial Garden, which was created alongside the town’s mere to celebrate the charity’s centenary in 2019, and to highlight the plight of refugee children displaced by conflict.

The visit will take place on Wednesday, April 24 and is in response to a joint invitation by the Jebb family, Save the Children’s Ellesmere fund-raising branch and the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative volunteer group which has spearheaded the Jebb Garden community project.

A spokesman for the group said: “We’re delighted and greatly honoured that Her Royal Highness has chosen to make time in her busy schedule to visit Ellesmere. It’s very timely because this year marks the centenary of the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, a ground-breaking document drafted by Eglantyne and adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, only five years after she launched Save the Children with her younger sister, Dorothy at the end of World War 1.”

The five-point charter set an international standard for the health, welfare and education of children and their protection from violence, abuse and exploitation. In 1989 it was enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally-binding international treaty supported by almost every country in the world.

Eglantyne died in Geneva in 1928, aged 52. Earlier this year, the Swiss city recognised her importance as a fearless, campaigning social reformer by moving her remains from its largest municipal cemetery to a more prestigious resting place known as the Cemetery of Kings, which is reserved for leading figures who have played a significant part in the city’s history.

The Jebb sisters were born at The Lyth country house on the outskirts of Ellesmere in the late 1800s.  It is now the family home of their great-great nephew, Richard Jebb whose mother Mrs Corinna Jebb led the Ellesmere and District branch of Save the Children for more than 50 years

The Jebb Garden , about a mile  away, is  part of the Cremorne Gardens. one of Shropshire’s most popular visitor attractions and the beginning of the Ellesmere Sculpture Trail. It features artworks, including an abstract sculpture representing the sisters, together with an interactive labyrinth, popular with children, that leads to a carved oak structure, depicting a refugee child finding shelter. Nearby is a 5ft stone carving with the message ‘Mankind owes to the child the best it has to give”, words used by Eglantyne when the Rights of the Child were agreed by the League of Nations in 1924.

Gemma Sherrington, Interim Chief Executive of Save the Children UK said the charity was ‘delighted’ that the Princess was visiting Ellesmere, adding:  We are always incredibly grateful for Her Royal Highness’ support.”

The Princess Royal pictured at a visit to Aico in 2021.


Picture credit: Aico.