The charm of Charles

Hundreds braved the big freeze today to catch Prince Charles on his visit to Lancashire.

The Prince of Wales arrived by Royal Train at Clitheroe to be greeted by cheering well-wishers.

Gerard Dowers, 69, of Victoria Street, Clitheroe, said: "I shook his hand and said hello to him. He wanted to know if I was good with the camera and asked who I was going to show the film to. I told him my wife who would be looking forward to it."

Catherine Lancaster, of Hawthorne Place, said: "I put my hand out and he shook it and I said I was standing here 22 years ago when he last visited.

"My family have grown up and I am a grandma, and he said look what 22 years has done to him and pointed to his face! It was quite a nice chat with him."

The Prince's tour included a trip round the bus and railway control room and the adjoining Platform Gallery where he shook hands with youngsters involved in a rural travel conference.

After unveiling the new Bowland transit bus, the Prince stepped aboard to go to Chipping, where he was due to meet farmers and businessmen from Bowland.

Hundreds of villagers and excited school children braved the freezing rain to welcome Prince Charles to Chipping.

The Prince was greeted by a frenzy of flag waving, bell ringing and cheering. His first stop was to examine a solar powered bus stop. He then moved on chatting with children from Bleasdale Primary School and St Mary's Primary School, Chipping.

Before making his way inside, the Prince saw a sight which may remind him of his childhood on the Royal Estate.

Chipping farmer John Cowgill from Carside Farm in Chipping, had brought two Marshall tractors similar to those used on the Royal Estate in the 1950s.

He said: "It is good for the countryside for Prince Charles to come here. He is one person willing to speak up for the countryside. He was very interested in the tractors."

This afternoon, the Prince was making his way to the Pukar Disability Centre in Oakham Court, Avenham, Preston.

Finally, the prince was the guest of honour at a private reception held by the Duke of Westminster in aid of MacMillan Cancer Relief at Fulwood Barracks.

e-mail: sonja.karlsen@lep.co.uk