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A tug of the forelock

No disrespect to Alan Tuckett, director of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, but I suspect the pulling power of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal - who I hear is to become its new patron - will raise the profile of the organisation in its campaign for a better deal for adults.

Yours truly was introduced to her by accident once, after standing in the wrong place during a royal visit in Surrey during my days as a cub reporter (in breach of the strict protocol which surrounds these events).

My editor would have blown a gasket had he known, but she obviously enjoyed seeing a red-faced journalist make a complete fool of himself, and her staff graciously saved me from a roasting by keeping mum.

FE needs a famous face and is lucky to have one member of the Royal family well known for doing their research before speaking in public.

Princess Anne deserves everyone's praise for supporting the cause of adult education and, on the basis that any friend of adult learning is a friend of mine, let me begin the grovelling.

Ma'am, this column may have had a slightly revolutionary tone in terms of citizenship education and the absence of an elected president. I didn't mean it.

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