Royal guest visits team at the heart of COVID-19 emergency response

Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, made a visit yesterday (Wednesday 17 June) to see first-hand the work undertaken by Surrey’s Strategic Coordination Group – a team of officers who for several months have led the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team of senior leaders from partner organisations across Surrey have been leading the response since it declared a major incident on the 20th March.

Speaking following the Earl’s visit, the Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver said:

“We were delighted to welcome His Royal Highness to Surrey yesterday to talk him through the full extent of our response to this event. The team has worked in true partnership over many months to protect the public, our health services and support the most vulnerable in our communities.

“The Earl was keen to learn more about Surrey’s response to date, what issues were faced and how the Local Resilience Forum, through the SCG, is now supporting the ‘restart’ of many local services.”

As part of the visit, The Earl also took the time to visit front line responders, visiting the Surrey Fire and Rescue Headquarters in Reigate where he spent time talking to officers.

Chief Fire Officer, and Co-Chair of the Strategic Coordination Group, Steve Owen-Hughes said:

“Not only did we get the opportunity to update His Royal Highness on our response to COVID-19 so far, the Earl of Wessex also took the time to visit Reigate Fire Station to meet our operational staff and new recruits, making the start of their new careers with us even more special.”

During the visit, His Royal Highness took part in a number of different activities including a tour of our PPE storage facility, a virtual meeting with lead officers who are planning the Test and Trace recovery phase and a teleconference with the Strategic Coordination Group.


Notes to Editors

The Earl met with SCG Chairs, Gavin Stephens (Chief Constable, Surrey Police), Joanna Killian (Chief Executive, Surrey County Council), and Steve Owen Hughes (Chief Fire Officer for Surrey).

Strict social distancing practice was adopted during the visit, in line with government guidelines on working safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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