HOOK based business, The OT Practice hosted Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on Friday March 8, to highlight the work of Occupational Therapists in the independent sector.
With the theme of entrepreneurialism as the focus of the visit, HRH was met by representatives from The OT Practice’s therapy team, many of whom have had extensive backgrounds in statutory services before moving to work privately with The OT Practice. They described first hand their own personal experiences of the challenges, benefits, success and rewards they have experienced.
To truly bring to life the value of occupational therapy, several clients together with their respective therapists spoke to HRH about their individual stories and the impact that working with The OT Practice has made to their everyday lives.
At the end of the morning, HRH The Princess Royal addressed the dignitaries, invited guests and staff by recognising that independence and choice were the two consistent messages that she had heard throughout her visit. She continued by saying that in her experience, nine times out of ten it is people who make the difference and that she had seen that throughout the morning. She also spoke about the difference that advancing technologies are making in this field before signing the Visitors Book and unveiling the official plaque to commemorate her visit.
Dr. Patricia McClure, Chair of Council, Royal College of Occupational Therapists also took to the stand to thank the team for the work that they do and offer tribute to the team and the difference that their work makes to so many lives.
Princess Anne was presented with a bouquet of flowers by William Dyer, 10 who attended with his mum Vicky. Speaking to William afterwards, he told The Basingstoke Observer: “I felt both excited and worried at the same time but I really, really enjoyed presenting the flowers to Princess Anne. I will never, ever forget today and how it felt, I will remember it always.”
Watching on as William presented the flowers was Alex Lewis, Brand Ambassador for The OT Practice. Many of you may remember the story of Alex five years ago when he was left fighting for his life after a common cold triggered a strep A infection, blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome. Alex lost four limbs and much of his face to a flesh-eating bug has battled against the odds to make a remarkable recovery.
Alex shared with us how significant it was for The OT Practice to get such recognition and endorsement from HRH The Princess Royal. He went on to say that when he had talked with the Princess earlier in the day he was struck by how lovely she was to talk to and how knowledgeable she was about Occupational Therapy and the role technology has to play moving forward. Revealing “she is all over it” Alex wished that there had been more of a focus in this area five years ago and wondered where his own recovery could have been today with the support of such entrepreneurial Occupational Therapy. He said that moving forward it is important to be proactive rather than reactive which is what The OT Practice is all about. Alex concluded: “Having HRH The Princess Royal here today was a real coup for The OT Practice but it is very much deserved.”
Thank you to both William and Alex for talking to us, both have spirits that are truly inspirational.
Nikki Thompson, Executive Director who accompanied HRH throughout the visit said: “We are honoured to have welcomed Her Royal Highness today. It is a fantastic opportunity to elevate the profile of our profession and the diversity of career opportunities open for occupational therapists in the independent sector. We are the first independent OT practice that has been afforded the honour of a visit from The Princess Royal, the Patron of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and are extremely proud to have been chosen.”