Princess Anne’s week: British Youth Sailing championships & two gym openings

Princess Anne has spent a busy weekend watching sailing and gymnastics. The Queen’s only daughter attended day four of the British Youth Sailing National Championships, before opening two new gymnastic centres in Scotland.

The British Youth Sailing National Championships were held in Largs, Scotland. The Princess Royal attended in her capacity as President of the Royal Yachting Association, of which The Queen is patron. Anne enjoyed a number of races, before meeting some of the 220 competitors who participated. It is the third consecutive time that Princess Anne has attended the event.

Princess Anne at the British Youth Sailing National Championships in Largs (Royal Family)

The Royal Yachting Association regatta gives young people a chance to be a part of the British Youth Sailing team in the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships, which will be held this summer.

Mark Nicholls, the RYA’s Youth Racing Manager, said, “It’s always fantastic to have Her Royal Highness visit the Youth National Championships, the country’s premier youth sailing event.

“Her Royal Highness is a great supporter of both youth sailing and the RYA, and is hugely interested in the sailors and their development.

“The sailors always value her support and input and we look forward to spending some time with her and catching up on all things boating.”

The next day, the Princess officially opened two multi-million pound sport centres in Aberdeenshire. Both venues cost a combined £12.7 million, and feature gyms, sports halls, all weather pitches and swimming pools. Anne met with young sports stars, musicians and staff at the council-run facilities in Banff and Macduff.

Her Royal Highness was originally scheduled to make the trip in January, but it had to be postponed when her plane couldn’t land due to inclement weather. 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.”

Aberdeenshire provost Bill Howatson was grateful to the Princess for returning. He remarked: “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.”

17-year-old footballer Monica Wilson, who trains at the centre, told of how Princess Anne was curious about her sporting achievements. She also praised the centre’s facilities: “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!”

Princess Anne also attended Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s Annual Conference at Riviera International Centre in Devon. She was there as an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Elgin.

Over 1,500 Rotarians, Rotaractors and their partners participate annually in the Rotary Conference, which features a lively entertainment programme.

The Princess Royal delivered a keynote address, saluting Rotary’s humanitarian work from polio to dementia. She said: “Rotary is for communities, everywhere!”

A spokesperson for Bradford West Rotary said that Anne was “so well informed about Rotary and appreciative of what we do. It was a pleasure and privilege to listen to her speak.”

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