Princess Anne visits Rutland Water and Oakham Enterprise Park

Princess Anne arriving at the Active Rutland Hub
Princess Anne arriving at the Active Rutland Hub
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3.45pm: Princess Anne has now left Rutland after a busy day meeting sailors, gymnasts and other sports people.

The Princess Royal arrived at Rutland Water at midday today (Monday) having earlier opened the Active Rutland Hub at Oakham Enterprise Park.

The newly unveiled plaque

The newly unveiled plaque

She was given a tour of the John Merricks Training Centre at the club, where she met a number of the competitors taking part in the ISAF Team Racing World Championships before speaking to several members of Rutland Sailability.

One of those was nine-year-old Sam Newcombe, who travels from Whetstone near Leicester every week to sail. Princess Anne asked him about the boat he sails, the Access.

Sam said he was very excited to meet her and had been looking forward to it for days.

Princess Anne changed into navy blue wet weather gear before going out onto the water in a motorboat to watch the ISAF race. Among the young sailors to speak to her during the under-19 section of the race was Peter Barron, 16, from Team USA.

Princess Anne watching a demonstration by girls from Oakham Artistic Gymnastics

Princess Anne watching a demonstration by girls from Oakham Artistic Gymnastics

He said: “It was really cool to meet her. I was surprised by how much she knew about sailing. Some of my friends know a lot about the Royal family so they might be pretty jealous that I’ve got to meet her.”

Earlier, she unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the new Active Rutland Hub and told the guests: “I hope you enjoy it and the many many more members - if you can fit them all in! My very best wishes to you for the future.”

The facility has been completely refurbished thanks to a £500,000 grant from Sport England and the hub now boasts a three-court sports hall, multi-purpose studio and an artificial outdoor turf pitch.

The Princess Royal has spent the morning at the centre meeting groups that use it, including Vale Judo Club and Oakham Artistic Gymnastics Academy.

One of the highlights of the visit was when four-year-old Libby Dickinson shyly stepped forward to present the princess with a posy.