RED CROSS royal Princess Alexandra admitted that first aid was not her forte when she opened the organisation’s new £360,000 training centre and headquarters in Taunton in 1989.

She explained to branch youth officer, Patsy Finlayson, of Ashbourne Crescent, Taunton, that she had never taken her first aid course - despite years of association with the Red Cross of which she is national vice-president.

The confession came during an hour long visit to the centre in Livingstone Way on Tuesday afternoon when Princess Alexandra viewed displays, met members over tea, and presented top awards.

And, said Somerset director Roy Pickett, she praised the work of the Red Cross in Somerset where it has 26 local centres, 1,700 members - 400 of them youngsters - and 600 others helping with activities and fundraising.

Mr Pickett, who accompanied the Royal visitor for much of her tour, added: “From the excited chatter, people obviously enjoyed the visit. The Princess is an easy person to talk with and she displayed great interest in our work - particularly use of up-to-date equipment and techniques.”