Locals in Brechin were treated to a right royal sight when the Duke of Rothesay - as Prince Charles is known when he is in Scotland - paid a visit on October 4.
His Royal Highness was in town to visit the Merchant’s House to see for himself the work carried out by The Prince’s Regeneration Trust and the Townscape Heritage Initiative
When he arrived, earlier than scheduled, crowds had already gathered to greet him. The Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Georgiana Osbourne, introduced Prince Charles to those who had been in charge of the project.
HRH then toured both properties accompanied by members of the THI Group and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, along with both sets of tenants- Mr and Mrs Wise and Mr and Mrs Walker.
After the tour of the Merchant’s houses, Prince Charles was introduced to the neighbours, Senga Thorpe and Carol Simpson, before walking up the High Street to Brechin Town House Museum. HRH made sure to stop on the way to greet the crowds who lined the route.
Upon arrival at the Town House Museum, he met four apprentices who had worked on the project. Lee Knox, Callum Campbell, Lawrie Tambini and Calvin Walker did not realise it was Prince Charles they were meeting until he arrived – it had been a closely kept secret until then. They described themselves as shocked, but delighted, with the opportunity to meet and chat with the Prince.
Both Small World and New Friends nurseries took their children along for the day, and the children were delighted as the Prince stopped to chat and admire the Union Flag and Saltires painted on their hands and faces.
In the Town House Museum, Prince Charles meet a host of dignitaries, including the local Brechin councillors.
Speaking after the event, Councillor Bob Myles said: “I was very impressed with both his knowledge and his interest in what was happening. He was so enthusiastic about the regeneration and the people behind it.
“What impressed me as much as anything was the way he spoke to the workmen, the people serving the tea and the people behind the scenes as well as the dignitaries that were there. He definitely appreciated what has been achieved in quite a short time really.”
“I can’t praise Sarah Kettles too highly for managing to co-ordinate all that. Without her at the helm keeping everything going, knowing which buttons to press and who to speak to and a bit of diplomacy at times to get everybody on board. It was a huge co-ordinating job to pull the whole thing together. And Kit Martin too, he was the catalyst and got the whole thing going.”
“A lot of people didn’t know [the visit] was happening until a day or two before so it was nice to see the crowds in the streets and the way the Prince spoke to them as he came up the street made their day as well.”
Councillor Mairi Evans added: “It is fantastic to see the Merchants House and the wider work of the THI recognised in this way and so exciting to have such a popular member of the royal family come to visit our city. I was fortunate enough to talk with the Duke who commented on the overall impact of the Merchant’s House and the lift that the THI has given to Brechin.
“It was fantastic to see so many people out on the streets because a visit such as this gives the whole area a boost and I hope that more people are inspired to come to Brechin as a result.”
Deputy Chief Constable of Tayside Police, Gordon Scoobie, took to twitter to share his views on the afternoon. The DCC, who use the twitter handle @DCCTayside, met Prince Charles as he arrived at the Merchant’s House. He commented: “Met HRH Prince Charles today when he visited Brechin to view the restored Merchants House in the town. Many thanks to the residents of both houses who allowed us to have a walk around and see for ourselves the fantastic work carried out to bring these properties back to life. Well done to the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, Brechin Townscape Heritage Initiative and many others who have worked hard to deliver on this project.
“It was especially nice that HRH had the opportunity to meet local apprentices who had worked on the houses and that the public of Brechin had a sunny day to enjoy this Royal visit. A very enjoyable afternoon indeed.”