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Princess Royal opens north-east sports facilities

HRH The Princess Royal, formally opens the MacDuff Community and Sports centre, Duff Street, MacDuff. In the picture are from left: Lori Connell, duty officer, Princess Anne, Jim Savege, Chief executive, Mrs David, Bowes-Lion, lady in waiting and Provost Bill Howatson. 
Picture by Jim Irvine.
HRH The Princess Royal, formally opens the MacDuff Community and Sports centre, Duff Street, MacDuff. In the picture are from left: Lori Connell, duty officer, Princess Anne, Jim Savege, Chief executive, Mrs David, Bowes-Lion, lady in waiting and Provost Bill Howatson. Picture by Jim Irvine.

The Princess Royal officially opened two multimillion pound sport centres during a visit to the north-east yesterday.

She met young sports stars, musicians and staff at the council-run facilities in Banff and Macduff.

It cost a combined £12.7million to build both venues which have gyms, sports halls, all weather pitches and a swimming pool.

The Princess Royal was scheduled to come to the twin towns in January but that trip had to be abandoned when her aircraft was left unable to land in blustery conditions.

However, there were no such issues yesterday and Princess Anne told the gathered crowd she was glad to be invited back.

She said: “I am grateful that you didn’t mind asking me to come here and see what you have achieved.

“The achievement here is considerable not least in bricks and mortar but in meeting the interest of people who are accessing this building for exercise, sport and for socialising.

“It obviously has already had quite an impact here which shows the plans, which took a little time to get under way, have been worth waiting for.

“This is a vital part of your community and particularly for all ages to be able to enjoy.”

Monica Wilson was one of the local sporting stars who met the Royal visitor.

The 17-year-old said Princess Anne wanted to know more about her exploits with Deveronvale Ladies FC.

She said: “She was asking what sport I played, where I trained and where I’ve gone with football.

“I was capped with Scotland a couple of years ago and I’ve always trained here twice a week at the Deveron Sports Centre.

“It (the centre) has provided a great pathway for us because it’s got an astro turf pitch and it is available in all weathers which is great for training.”

Aberdeenshire provost Bill Howatson said he was pleased Princess Anne decided to cast an eye over both complexes.

He said: “Those of you that were here in January you will recall the fierce north-east winds prevented our Royal guest from attending despite a huge effort on the day.

“That is why we’re delighted to hear Her Royal Highness was keen to return and see the facilities for herself.

“I know that has meant a lot to everyone involved with both centres so thank you very for finding the time to return.”

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