ACCRINGTON welcomed a royal visitor when Prince Edward officially opened the new £7.5M Accrington Pals Health Care Centre on Paradise Street.
Prince Edward, the Queen‘s youngest son, unveiled an official plaque during his 90-minute visit last Thursday.
The Earl of Wessex was taken on a tour of the ultra-modern centre, met staff and patients, and also learned a bit more about the iconic Accrington Pals and how the town has embraced their legacy.
Upon arrival, the Prince was greeted by children from Benjamin Hargreaves Primary School, who had created a time capsule which was put under the building, and youngsters from nearby Woodnook Primary School, as well as around two dozen well-wishers.
Prior to his arrival, Julie Nichol, a Year 6 teacher at Benjamin Hargreaves, said: “The capsule contains lotsof information about healthy eating. We are all very excited about seeing the Prince.”
The Prince was met by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hyndburn, Councillor Tony Dobson and his wife Trish, and East Lancashire Primary Care Trust chairman, Kathy Reade.
Some patients inside the centre were a bit surprised to see the VIP guest.
Amy Stott, of Rishton, said: “I am here for a check-up and had no idea the Prince was coming. It was all a bit unexpected.“
The Prince was also introduced to Ruth Turner, the wife of the late of Bill Turner, who spent much of his life researching the Pals, the battalion which was decimated at the First World War Battle of the Somme.
Mrs Turner said: “I am so very, very proud to be here. I am representing Bill and he would have been immensely honoured that the centre was named after the Pals. He‘d also be very honoured that His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, was here today to open the centre.”
After meeting staff and patients, the Prince unveiled the plaque and said how was interested he was to see the connection Accrington has with the Pals.
He said: “Thank you very much for inviting me today and good luck with all the plans you have got.”
It was the last leg of a whistle-stop tour of East Lancashire in which the Prince has also visited Nelson and Burnley.
Click on 'View gallery' for more pictures ...