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A royal comes to Neon Play

Duke of Kent visits

Off to the Palace

We have been rather lucky on the meeting royals front in the last year or so. Firstly, our CEO Oli Christie went to Buckingham Palace to meet Prince Andrew with the Glos LEP. Then Oli and business partner Mark Allen also went to Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty the Queen no less as a result of winning a Queens Award for Innovation.

Duke of Kent coming to town

So imagine our joy when we got a call from Dame Janet Trotter (who is Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire) to say that the Duke of Kent wanted to come and visit Neon Play’s studio in Cirencester. For the uneducated people reading this, The Duke of Kent is the man who hands out the Wimbledon trophy to the men’s winner of that fine tennis tournament on grass.

Duke of Kent presents to Roger Federer

We had a clear diary that day, so it seemed like a very good idea and it would be our first and probably only royal visit.

Preparation is key

It’s amazing all the planning and preparation that goes into a royal visit and we had two pre-visits with lots of policemen checking out exits, safe rooms, a loo for HRH, etc. And when a royal comes to town, you also need to invite several VIPs including the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire and the mayor of Cirencester.

The High Sheriff of Gloucestershire Hugh Tollemache

You can see the sort of security we had to have... 

High security at Neon Play

Crazy Copter

The whooshing, whirring sound of a helicopter was soon heard overhead and the Duke landed his helicopter in our next door neighbour’s garden - Lord and Lady Bathurst - so a big thanks to them.

Duke of Kent's helicopter lands in Cirencester for visit to Neon Play

And then they walked around the big Bathurst wall with the Duke on their way to Neon Play.

The Duke of Kent with Dame Janet Trotter and Lord and Lady Bathurst

There was then a welcoming party in our lobby where the Duke met all the key players. Then Oli and Mark took the Duke upstairs for a tour of our studio and a sneaky peak at our top secret new game.

Duke of Kent looks at Neon Play's new game with CEO Oli Christie

We think it’s fair to say that the Duke was totally fascinated by the array of skills that go into making a big mobile game and we showed him the different areas of game production, from concept art to 2D UI design to 3D art. And then via the programming team and then analytics, QA testing and project management. He took a great interest and the guys did a great job showing their work.

Duke of Kent looks at Neon Play's new game with CEO Oli Christie and CTO Mark Allen

Following the upstairs tour, we went downstairs to meet two of our charity partners - Hope for Tomorrow and Cirencester Housing for Young People - so the Duke could hear about our work and support with them. Plus three of our education partners - the University of Gloucestershire, Cirencester College and Gloucestershire College - so we can talk about the great work we are doing to help the next generation.

Duke of Kent meeting Hope for Tomorrow at Neon Play

And the Duke also then met Oli and Mark’s families. Amazingly, the Duke used to race motor cars with Oli’s grandfather in the 50s and 60s, so Oli’s Dad shared a few stories with the Duke. Small world...

Oli then made a short speech with a brief look back at Neon Play’s history and he thanked the Duke for coming to Neon Play.

Duke of Kent shakes hands with Neon Play's CEO Oli Christie

And finally, the Duke cut the rather magnificent cake with a photo of the whole team and a 3D edible iPad! 

Duke of Kent cuts the cake with Neon Play's CEO Oli Christie

What they said...

HRH Duke of Kent said, "This is an area which has so far been largely closed to me. It's been extremely interesting to see game developers go about their work. I want to congratulate you on achieving so much in such a short time, especially winning a Queen's Award."

Oli Christie, CEO of Neon Play commented, “It truly was a great honour for Neon Play to have the Duke of Kent visit us and it was a proud moment to show him around our studio. It’s only been three and a half years since we launched, so it was very rewarding to show the Duke how far we’ve come in a short period of time. It was certainly a day to remember.”


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