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Prince Charles drops in to sailing academy
12:10pm Wednesday 27th June 2012 in Weymouth and Portland Sailing Olympics and Paralympics 2012 News By Laura Kitching
Buy this photo Prince Charles gives the royal seal of approval to Stevie Morrison’s 49er
PRINCE Charles cracked open a bottle of Dorset beer on a visit to the Olympic Sailing venue – and poured it all over a boat.
He raised cheers with his impromptu royal seal of approval of the new Team GB 49er Skiff, while enjoying a ‘whistle-stop tour’ of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy yesterday.
The sun shone as the prince toured at the invitation of triple Olympic gold-medallist Ben Ainslie, who is an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.
He was also met by the Lord Lieutenant for Dorset Valerie Pitt-Rivers, the High Sheriff Jeremy Pope, Portland mayor Sylvia Bradley, Councillor Jenny Collinge, sailing academy chairman Edward Leask and chief executive John Tweed, and RYA Olympic manager Stephen Park.
Ainslie said: “It’s great for Prince Charles to see what’s taking place down here and the activities, not just for the Olympic sailors but for the youngsters coming down to use these facilities more and more.
“It’s really getting exciting, there are so many international teams training and preparing, as there have been for a long time.
“You can feel the excitement and tension building up.”
Britain’s 49er sailor Stevie Morrison said it was a ‘real honour’ that Prince Charles had toasted their new vessel, which will be sailed in the Games.
Stevie’s crewmate Ben Rhodes, of Exmouth, said: “He used a bottle of Palmer’s Dorset Gold ale.
“We’ve called her Lovely Rita after the Beatles song, we thought it was about as British a name as it could be. Also, Ben calls his boats Rita so we thought we’d get in with that action too.”
He added: “Prince Charles was really nice, he told us about when he was here in the Navy.”
Portland Paralympian John Robertson said: “This was the first time I’d met Prince Charles, he’s a nice chap.”
Weymouth’s Olympic windsurfer Bryony Shaw said: “He told me about all the times he used to do windsurfing back in the ’80s.
“He seemed really interesting.”
Charles also met a line-up of athletes from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America.
Australia’s 470 sailor Amanda Clark described the Royal visit as ‘pretty incredible’, which highlighted how the Olympics brought about ‘good will’ and the chance to meet very influential people.
She added: “I’m so happy he came down to support sailing and to christen the boat for the British, that’s just so cool.”
PRINCE Charles helped students leave a lasting flavour of 2012 under the new Dorchester Sports Centre.
After attending a Prince’s Foundation reception in Poundbury, Charles was met by cheering children at the sports facility.
The prince helped pupils from the Thomas Hardye School to bury a time capsule under the new £8million centre.
The school’s history department ran a competition of ideas and chose six Year 9 pupils to put together the final product.
Hannah Roberts-Baker said: “It was really exciting getting to meet Prince Charles, I thought he would be really prim and proper but he was really funny and friendly.”
History teacher Gemma Cambell said: “They all got into it and some of the ideas they came up with were really interesting.
The capsule includes a student film depicting a day in the life of a young person in 2012, photos of animals that could become extinct or landmarks that might be eroded, music lyrics, favourite recipes, a TV guide and a plaque from West Dorset Warriors swimming club.
The new centre on Coburg Road is being developed by West Dorset District Council in partnership with the county council and Thomas Hardye School.
District leader Robert Gould said: “The time capsule will not only provide future generations with a snapshot of life in 2012, but is a fantastic way to show the excitement surrounding this development.”
The Prince then hitched a ride back to Poundbury on an electric bus.
His final engagement of the day was a visit to the anaerobic digester at Rainbarrow Farm near Martinstown, which is supplying 750 Poundbury homes with electricity and will soon be providing gas for around 4,000 homes.
PRIME Minister David Cameron hopes to get to Weymouth and Portland to catch some of the action during the Olympic Sailing events, the Dorset Echo can exclusively reveal.
At a reception at 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron told Dorset Echo group editor Toby Granville that he was “getting very excited about the Olympics” and should his schedule allow it, he was planning to join the thousands of expected visitors to the borough next month.
“I definitely hope to get down to Weymouth and Portland to watch the sailing games,” he said.
Sources close to the Prime Minister also revealed that he was hoping to visit all of the locations of the Games around the country – and the borough would certainly be on the agenda should that happen.
In the Rose Garden at Downing Street where he and Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg famously held the press conference that sealed their coalition agreement, Mr Cameron later thanked the assembled group of regional daily newspaper editors for their support of the Olympics in the build-up to the Games.
The Prime Minister also added that the country needed a “thriving and vibrant regional press that gave their communities a voice and asked the tough questions calling the Government to account.”
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