Prince Philip meets the crowds on his tour of Sleaford in 1975. EMN-211204-152231001

Sleaford Museum to display exhibition on Prince’s visit to the town

The UK entered a period of national mourning following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle at the age of 99 on Friday (April 9).

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 10:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 11:23 am

The period of mourning will last to and include his funeral on Saturday, April 17, to be held at Windsor, for family members only, with the public encouraged to view it on television. Flags at council offices in the town will remain at half-mast until the morning after the funeral.

Prince Philip was the longest-serving consort in British history, with he the Queen married for 73 years. Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side and being a strong advocate for business, the environment and pioneering the Duke of Edinburgh Awards for young people, which he once described asa toolkit for adulthood.

The Duke made two official visits to the Sleaford area over the years, once on June 12, 1970, with the Queen when they visited RAF College Cranwell to celebrate the base’s 50th anniversary.

Their son, Prince Charles, was due to begin four months’ training there the following March. They even met the Prince’s future flying instructor – Squadron Leader Richard Johns.

Later, the Prince paid a solo visit to Sleaford on July 1, 1975, arriving by helicopter. He was treated to a tour of the town, inspecting the new Riverside Precinct and planting a tree on Eastgate Green. We have a gallery of photos from his visits here.

Sleaford Museum holds the engraved commemorative spade which the prince used. Museum chairman Mark Bamford said: “We are planning a window display for the funeral day – we will use the spade as the centre piece and briefly tell the story of his visit to the town.”

Melita Walker is Duke of Edinburgh Awards co-ordinator for the Robert Carre Trust, leading students on the scheme from Carre’s Grammar school and Kesteven and Sleaford High School.

She was saddened by this news and recalled: “I had the pleasure of meeting the Duke of Edinburgh on several occasions at Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Presentations (GAPs) both in St James’ Palace and Buckingham Palace, since my involvement began in 2006.

“The last time I was at St James’ Palace working at a GAP I was introduced to him and he looked me in the eye and said, ‘we have met before’, to which I responded, ‘Yes sir we have’. He had a great sense of occasion, humour and a fabulous memory despite his advancing years.

“I wish Prince Edward all the very best as he steps in to take over the role for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.”

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