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Duke of Gloucester visits Peat Rigg Outdoor Training near Pickering
8:27am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
THE DUKE of Gloucester made a whistle stop to Ryedale yesterday when he opened a new outdoor centre for disadvantaged youngsters and took a trip on a steam train.
His day-long programme had an initial hitch when his helicopter had to land at Tees Valley Airport because fog prevented him arriving at the Esk valley village of Westerdale where he opened the newly-refurbished village hall.
He travelled with the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Lord Crathorne, to Pickering where a large crowd of rail enthusiasts and volunteers met him and he was introduced to the chairman of Ryedale District Council, Coun Janet Frank, and Pickering’s mayor, Coun Sue Cowan. He was then taken on a steam train ride to Levisham and back, and had lunch in a saloon carriage.
Philip Benham, general manager of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, told the Duke how the railway, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, had had an excellent season and how over the years, investment had been put into expanding its facilities, including the new education centre which is nearing completion.
The Duke’s entourage then made its way to north Peat Rigg, just north of Cropton, to see its new £475,000 training centre, built alongside a converted 19th century farmhouse within Cropton Forest.
The Duke toured the centre and met Ian Thorpe, the centre manager, and his wife, Claire, Derek Noble, a director, and Hugh McGouran, chief executive of the Tees Valley Community Foundation which owns it, and is part-funder of the project.
Mr Noble, a leading Yorkshire businessman, said the residential centre and Peat Rigg, a not-for-profit social enterprise, catered for parties of children with psychological problems, Down’s syndrome and disabled youngsters, as well as from inner city schools.
The scheme has been part-funded by the Big Lottery Fund to encourage young people to grow, produce, harvest, cook and eat vegetables they have grown in its gardens. The centre also runs courses for adults.
The Duke’s final engagement was to attend the Scarborough Engineering Week hosted by leading companies in the resort.
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