Prince of Wales Day Visit to Dorset
6:38pm 26th June 2012
(Updated 9:37am 27th June 2012)
The Prince of Wales makes a royal tour of Dorchester and Weymouth.
It's the third time Prince Charles has visited Dorset in just over a year.
The first stop on his day tour (Tuesday 26th June) was a surprise visit to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, where he was given a tour of the site by Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie.
He went on to meet Team GB athletes and even members of the United States, Australian and Canadian sailing teams too.
His Royal Highness then made his way to the Poundbury Development before heading to Dorchester's new multimillion pound sports centre for an exclusive tour of the facilities.
He then helped Year 9 pupils from the Thomas Hardye School bury their time capsule - which even had a Wessex FM sticker inside it - outside the sports centre.
The Prince was greeted by representatives from West Dorset District Council, Dorset County Council, Thomas Hardye School, construction company Leadbitter Group and leisure trust 1610 Ltd.
His Royal Highness was treated to a preview tour of the brand new centre, which is in the final stages of construction and is due to open to the public later this summer.
As part of his visit, The Prince also helped to bury a time capsule outside the entrance of the new centre.
HRH was joined by six students from Thomas Hardye School, who had won a school competition to decide what to put inside the time capsule, and members of the West Dorset Warriors swimming club, who have provided a plaque to be included in the capsule.
Chairman of West Dorset District Council, Councillor Gillian Summers said: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to take a look around our fantastic new sports centre today. The centre will provide first-class swimming and fitness facilities for the local community and we are very much looking forward to when the facility is officially open and can be used by local people later on this summer.”
Councillor Toni Coombs, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for children's services, said: "It's wonderful to have this new sports centre in Dorchester, and to know that our younger residents have access to such excellent facilities to develop their interests in sport and healthy living. With so much focus in the county for sports this summer it couldn't have come at a better time, and will benefit young people for years to come."
Head Teacher of Thomas Hardye School, Mike Foley said: “It was a pleasure to meet His Royal Highness today and to bury the time capsule. This was a special occasion and marks a new era in the partnership between the school and the community. The new sports centre is a magnificent facility which will serve all the people of Dorchester for many years to come”.
David Cook, Regional Director of Leadbitter's Southern Construction and Housing division, said: "It was an honour for everyone involved in delivering this excellent facility to have The Prince visit and see first-hand the state-of-the-art sports centre that will be available to the people of Dorchester."
The new £8m Dorchester Sports Centre on Coburg Road has been developed by West Dorset District Council in partnership with Dorset County Council and The Thomas Hardye School. The Duchy of Cornwall has also contributed to funding for the project.
The centre has been built by Leadbitter and is due to be completed soon.
It is planned that 1610 Ltd, a non-profit making leisure trust, will take over the management of the centre upon completion of the building. After a competitive tendering process, in which four leisure management companies entered bids to manage the new facilities, West Dorset District Council selected 1610 Ltd, formerly known as Somerset Leisure Trust, as the preferred bidder.
The new facilities include a six-lane swimming pool with spectator gallery, a learner pool, dance studio, a state-of-the-art fitness suite, changing village and improved car parking. The centre will be used both by local schools and the community and will be open to the public all day, every day.