The Duke of Rothesay – as the Prince of Wales is known in Scotland – helped to celebrate the re-opening of a refurbished open-air pool in New Cumnock, East Ayrshire, which had been saved from demolition.
Community-run group Afton Water Leisure led the successful campaign to save the 51-year-old pool, and the re-opening comes after the completion of significant improvement works which were made possible with funding from the Dumfries House Outreach programme.
Charles said: ““I could not be more thrilled to be here today to open the swimming pool. I was only too keen to try and do what I could to try and help secure its long-term future, and I would like to express our gratitude to Afton Water Leisure for keeping the original pool open against the odds. It’s certainly looking decidedly splendid now.”
The Prince joked about the various ways of marking the occasion which were considered, saying “Tartan swimming trunks and the unveiling of an underwater plaque on the bottom of the pool was one suggestion, but we disregarded the idea of me jumping in and thought it seemed more important to recognise the local people.”
An experienced plaque unveiler, Charles no doubt gave Georgette Fulton a few tips as she joined him in the ceremony. Fulton worked as a cleaner at the pool when it first opened its doors in 1966 and worked her way up to head lifeguard.
Fulton said: “It is looking fabulous, beyond any of our expectations. In the old days, it looked like a prison camp with grey walls and barbed wire on top to keep out the midnight bathers, and it was very, very cold.
“I could not believe it when the prince asked me up onto the stage and to see my name up there on the plaque. I just hope that everybody has the same enjoyment out of the pool as we did.”
Following the plaque unveiling, Rio 2016 double silver medallist Duncan Scott dived in as onlookers including supermodel Eva Herzigoca, Viscount Linley and lead donors Bob and Tamar Manoukian looked on.
Scott is hopeful that the new pool facilities will encourage people into water sports and said: “the more pools there are, the higher participation is going to be, so this getting a massive refurbishment is only going to be a good thing.”