ROYALTY visited HMP Bullingdon this week to praise staff for their hard work.

HRH The Princess Royal went to the prison near Bicester on Tuesday as part of the nation’s first ever Hidden Heroes Day.

Staff and their probation and youth justice colleagues were thanked for their service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Managers at Bullingdon served breakfast from the vintage Routemaster double-decker bus as staff arrived in the morning, and in the afternoon The Princess toured the jail to meet staff and add her own personal message of gratitude.

Princess Anne was at the jail in her role as Patron of the Butler Trust - one of five prison visits she will be making in five weeks to thank staff for their work.

Oxford Mail:

Butler Trust is a charity dedicated to recognising outstanding practice by those working with offenders.

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The Butler Trust’s Director, Simon Shepherd, said: “We rightly recognise the role of the NHS and others during the current crisis, but because they are largely hidden from view, prison staff and their colleagues are often overlooked.

“It’s a difficult job at the best of times, and even more so right now. In spite of the clear personal risks, they have worked on to keep prisoners and the wider public safe, and the way they have risen to the challenge of Covid-19 deserves our heartfelt thanks and appreciation."

HRH said in a video message: "Your role is a challenging one under normal circumstances and even more so in the present situation.

"It is work of critical importance; to both the people in your care and the country as a whole; and the character, fortitude and camaraderie you have shown in rising to the challenge of Covid-19, is admirable.

Oxford Mail:

"Because your work is largely hidden from view, you may not be at the forefront of most people's minds in the current crisis.

"I am pleased to have the opportunity to add my own message of thanks and appreciation for the outstanding work that you do and continue to do at this difficult time."

Bullingdon prison has been following the government's coronavirus guidelines.

A visit by Victoria Talbot, Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) back in May found that officers, staff and prisoners adhered to social distancing and that there was sufficient quantities of soap and cleaning products.

There has also been enough PPE available and prisoners were not using communal areas such as the gym or the chapel.