Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Prince Takes a Trip through Our History; Earl of Wessex Takes a Step Back 900 Years

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Prince Takes a Trip through Our History; Earl of Wessex Takes a Step Back 900 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Tully

PRINCE Edward took a tour through three ages of Northumberland on a three-point air shuttle yesterday. First he stepped back 900 years with a visit to Hexham Abbey.

Then he went back even further in time, visiting the Vindolanda Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall and the new Roman Army Museum near Greenhead.

And finally the Earl of Wessex was helicoptered over the hills to rural Allendale to officially open a new arts studio which is very much state-of-the-art 21st Century.

The Prince spent so long chatting to captivated crowds that his trip stretched 40 minutes beyond schedule.

But by the time he disappeared over the hills and vales of Northumberland, he had charmed the hundreds of Northumbrians who turned out to see him.

At Hexham, after landing in the huge Wentworth car park, Prince Edward was driven to the Abbey where he was met by the Rector of Hexham, Canon Graham Usher. Canon Usher guided the Prince round the Abbey, explaining its long history and summarising the plans for a modern visitor centre.

Children from three Hexham schools were there as part of the Abbey's educational programme - in which the Prince took a close interest.

He also chatted amiably to adults and children alike at the Abbey entrance, joking and smiling.

After an hour, Prince Edward was flown to Vindolanda, where he toured the Roman site and the new museum, complete with exhibits going back 2,000 years.

Then, after lunch at the Kilfrost de-icing factory in Haltwhistle, he flew to Allendale - arriving 35 minutes beyond the scheduled 2pm arrival time.

But the good-natured crowds were entertained by live music as they waited - and when the Royal cavalcade finally drew up at the Forge Studios, union flag-waving children from Allendale First and Middle Schools gave a rousing welcome.

There was also a cheeky offer of a quick drink from Michael Joisce, who emerged from the nearby Allendale Inn to offer Edward " a quick half" of a special new brew at the end of his visit.

"We made the Wessex Royal Real Ale for the occasion," said Michael, Area Manager of the LWC Brewery. …

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