ROYAL visitor Prince Charles drew crowds of people when he visited Dorset County Hospital for the first time in 25 years.

The prince took time to talk to staff, patients and fundraisers as he toured the hospital and officially opened the Fortuneswell Ward.

He paid a special tribute to the 'devotion and unbelievable hard work' of the nurses and staff as he unveiled a plaque at the hospital's dedicated cancer unit.

Prince Charles also took time to meet schoolchildren and plant a tree in Poundbury before concluding the action-packed visit by opening a state-of-the-art renewable energy facility at Rainbarrow Farm near Martinstown.

For the full story, and pictures, see tomorrow's Dorset Echo.