Brid royal visit cancelled but awards carry on

The Hon Susan Cunliffe-Lister presents the award to Cec Lindley of West Hill Community Services.
The Hon Susan Cunliffe-Lister presents the award to Cec Lindley of West Hill Community Services.

FOGGY and wet weather put paid to a royal visit to Bridlington this week after HRH Prince Andrew’s helicopter was grounded.

There had been much excitement ahead of the Duke of York’s visit to Bridlington, which would have been the town’s first royal visit for more than 13 years. His Royal Highness had been due to present awards to the winners of the Duke of York’s Community Initiative at a ceremony held at the Spa on Monday afternoon.

But the weather meant he was grounded in Nottinghamshire leaving little time for him to make the journey to Bridlington before he had to return to London for a prior engagement on Monday evening.

Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding the Hon Susan Cunliffe-Lister presented the awards in the Prince’s absence and read out a message from him to the crowd of around 200 people who had gathered in the Spa’s Royal Hall for the prestigious event.

In his statement Prince Andrew said: “I am so sorry that I do not have control of the weather. I have been dealt an impossible hand with the weather. I want to congratulate you all on your outstanding achievement on receiving a Duke of York Community Initiative Award.”

Around 45 organisations from across Yorkshire – including Bridlington based West Hill Community Services – received the accolade which is awarded to projects in recognition of what they bring to their respective communities, how well managed they are and how they have inspired others.

Prince Andrew said: “Each and every one requires leadership, something which is sadly under recognised in today’s society. You all demonstrate that in copious quantity. None of what you have achieved would have been able without team work. As my naval career taught me, leadership and team work are essential.”

He added: “Perhaps not in a commercial way, but as a benefit to the community in which you live. You can achieve wonders and even magic in your community.

“You have chosen to bring these qualities to the organisations you are involved in and you should be very proud of what you have achieved. They deliver a coherent society where no one is forgotten.

“You can achieve anything you set your mind to, so long as you bring together the qualities I have set out.”

The Prince apologised once again for the weather but said there were plans underway for him to meet with the award holders when he visits York in December.

And the awards ceremony was hailed as such a success by organisers that it is hoped that the event will be held again in Bridlington next year.

Speaking to the Free Press after the event Stephen Beyer, a trustee of the Duke of York’s Community Initiative, said: “The day went extremely well, it reflected on the Spa wonderfully, they did a marvellous job and the trustees have already said if at all possible we will run the event again next year in Bridlington because we feel they deserve the day.”

And while disappointed not to have met Prince Andrew in person, award winner Cec Lindley, who collected the certificate on behalf of West Hill Community Services, said she had a good day.

“It was a really good day because there were so many organisations doing lots of different things but we were all on the same wavelength.”

Cec was particularly flattered that Mrs Cunliffe-Lister said she would like to pay a visit to the West Hill Community Centre, on Bridlington’s West Hill Estate to see for herself the good work they are doing there.

And Cec is hopeful she will get a chance to meet the Prince later this year.