PRINCE Charles gave an uplifting speech to an audience at Poundbury and said “he hoped he lasted long enough to see it finished”.

He spoke during an official visit to Dorchester on Friday to celebrate Poundbury's 20th anniversary.

During his visit, he met residents, popped into a couple's home, visited news businesses and met with local people involved with the development.

He started the day by visiting the Dorset History Centre in Bridport Road where he showed his interest in the preservation of documents and saw first-hand the techniques by Conservation officer Rebecca Donnan.

The visit culminated with the prince looking at a map of Fordington Manor which shows the land where Poundbury now sits.

County archivist Sam Johnston said: “The visit was superb - we couldn't have asked for more.

“The prince was clearly very interested and knew a lot about the preservation of documents and it is clearly something he really cares about.

“It was great for the staff to meet a royal and see his genuine passion in our work.”

The Prince of Wales, who was accompanied for the day by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Valerie Pitt-Rivers, then went on a special reception with 180 guests at Jubilee Hall in Queen Mother Square.

The reception included people who started work on Poundbury 20 years ago including builders, architects, tradesmen, planning officials and engineers.

Philip Fry, managing director of principle builder CG Fry said the 20-year anniversary is a proud moment for him, his company and his family.

He said: “We started building twenty years ago and since then what we've achieved has been fantastic.

“It's not just another development but a real community with cafes, businesses and it has a real buzz.

“The reception was important to us to bring along the 30 or so staff that have been with us the whole time and even tradesman who have retired.”

During a round of speeches Andrew Hamilton, Poundbury Development Manager, thanked everyone who has worked for the past 20 years to deliver on the prince's dream and wished him a happy birthday for two weeks' time.

The Prince of Wales then stood on the podium and spoke very informally to his guests and made a few jokes that made the audience laugh.

He said: “I am indebted to the Frys and Morrish and all the local people that have helped to do this.

“I also feel sorry for the residents who live around bulldozers and the noise of the building site.”

He thanked everyone involved in the project for realising his dream and said: “I hope I live long enough to see it finished - I shall hope for the best but at least there is McCarthy and Stone over the road.”

He pointed to the site where McCarthy and Stone is building a block of retirement flats, which the audience found amusing.

After the reception, he embarked on a walk around the development where many residents stopped him to have a conversation along the way.

He walked to Buttermarket Square where two new businesses have moved in and went to Boo's Toy Shop and neighbouring Magpie shop.

He also stopped into meet the funeral director Matthew Lucas Independent Funeral Directors which has recently opened their business in Poundbury.

Whilst on his walk around to the South West Quadrant many people and children lined the streets hoping to get a photograph of the prince.

A Prince in their living room

NEW shared ownership owners Dan and Susan Thomas and their baby daughter Mia received a special visit from the Prince of Wales.

The couple, who both work at Dorset County Hospital, recently purchased their home through Raglan's shared ownership scheme.

The Prince had a private meeting with them in their home where he asked them to see their garden, and went upstairs to see the rooms and the view from their windows.

Mrs Thomas said: “It was very surreal and an amazing experience to have Prince Charles in our living room.

“He was very friendly and took a real interest in us and our baby Mia too.”

She added: “It's great that he takes time to meet the residents of Poundbury too.”

The couple praised the shared ownership scheme as a great way that families like them can get on the housing ladder.

A gift for Prince George

NEW shopkeeper Charlie Polley from newly opened Boo's Toy shop said she was 'honoured and overwhelmed' to welcome Prince Charles to her shop.

As part of the prince's walk around he strolled into the traditional toy shop and accepted a present of a wooden helicopter and a bear from Charlie to Prince George.

The Prince said he was delighted and congratulated her on her traditional wooden toy range before declaring that 'he would be back.'

Mrs Polley said afterwards: “It was absolutely marvellous and I was so shell-shocked that he came in and spent time in here.

“He was really down to earth and was really interested in the shop and what we were doing - it was an absolute honour for me.”

Kate Adie in the audience

CELEBRITY journalist Kate Adie met the prince at a private meeting and then attended the reception.

She said: “Today was a lovely occasion and what's good about Poundbury is that it is still a young community and I am looking forward to seeing the development grow.”


20 years of Poundbury

Poundbury, built on Duchy of Cornwall land, is the urban extension to the Dorset county town of Dorchester which is built to The Prince of Wales's architectural principles.

Ground was broken for the development in 1993, making 2013 Poundbury's 20th anniversary.

The development is known internationally as a pioneering example of urban development and is a model of a sustainable community designed to put the needs of people before cars.

Poundbury mixes high-density social and private housing with work and leisure facilities.

Poundbury is expected to be fully completed by 2025 when it will house approximately 5,000 people and provide 2,000 jobs in the factories, offices and general facilities across the site.

It is already home to 2,000 people as well as providing employment for some 1,600 people and a home to 140 businesses.