Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were married at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle today, but nearly ten years ago her father, Prince Andrew, was in Shoreham to officially reopen the Old Toll Bridge after restoration work.
Here is Herald reporter Sheena Campbell's report on the Duke of York's visit from the Shoreham Herald of October 30, 2008:
Hundreds of people gathered to watch Prince Andrew open the old toll bridge at Shoreham on Thursday.
The Duke of York was met by local dignitaries, including the chairman of the Old Shoreham Tollbridge Community Trust, Liza McKinney, who spearheaded a major fundraising campaign to repair the 230-year-old bridge.
Mrs McKinney said: “I was determined to see this bridge restored. It’s part of our cultural heritage. When it was built, it was a tremendous engineering feat for the county. It’s part of the town’s history; we couldn’t lose it. The trust and West Sussex County Council’s success in restoring the bridge is living proof that a local community and local authority working in partnership can achieve what may seem impossible.”
After unveiling a plaque officially opening the bridge, Prince Andrew said: “What I think is particularly wonderful is that it has been restored and local people can now use it again. Congratulations on what you’ve achieved.”
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He then chatted to year-six pupils from Buckingham Park Primary School.
Before meeting the prince, 10-year-old Luke Mepham said: “It’s going to be really good, because I have never really met royalty before, so it will just be quite exciting. The bridge is really nice. I’ve been across it quite a few times to the air show, when it still had the railings, and now it looks really fresh and really good.”
Ten-year-old Catherine MacDiarmaid-Gordon said: “I’m very excited. The bridge is much better because, before, it was crumbling down a bit and it needed freshening up a bit.”
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Councillor Neil Parkin, leader of Adur District Council, said: “I’ve got fond memories of going over this bridge in my father’s car as a child. I’m absolutely delighted that it has been restored. Now we just need to make a final push to raise the last of the money to pay for it.”
Clive Williams, West Sussex county councillor for Shoreham, said: “It’s taken us a while to get here. Hopefully, this has been built in such a way that it will last quite a long time.”
The bridge reopened to the public in mid-September after six months of restoration – the most extensive work since the British Railways Corporation sold it to West Sussex County Council in 1970.
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Shoreham residents at the opening expressed their delight at the bridge’s return to its former glory.
Suzannah Murray-Wilson said: “I’m just so glad it’s been saved. It’s part of Shoreham, really. When I was training at Southlands, I used to drive over here. It used to be six old pence to cross the bridge in a car and the cycles were a penny.”
Ted Axford, 85, a member of The Fellowship of Cycling Old-Timers, said: “They have made a lovely job of it; there’s no doubt about it. I used to go across here every day when I worked at the old railway works in Lancing.”
Secretary of the Old Shoreham Tollbridge Community Trust, Vera Tickler, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. There’s not much more I can say. I never thought this day would come. Everything is beautiful and it was all done by local people.”
During his tour of Shoreham, the Duke of York also visited cutting-edge engineering company Ricardo’s, near the toll bridge, and the new Shoreham Port Authority building.
At Ricardo’s, he opened the new Sir Harry Ricardo Innovation and Sustainable Transport Centre, part of a £6.4million capital investment programme at the Shoreham technical centre.
At the port, he officially opened the £2million headquarters and was given a guided tour of the new facility and the communications centre.