A SAILING club got the Royal seal of approval when Princess Anne made a flying visit to Hartlepool on Tuesday.
HRH Princess Royal visited the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club (THYC) as part of a trip to the North East in her role as President of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).
Her Royal Highness arrived by helicopter opposite Hartlepool Marina before being taken to the club by car at 3.50pm.
During her visit to the venue which she officially opened back in 1998, she met the organisation’s commodore Barry Hughes and Steve Gibbon, who is chair of the regional branch of the RYA.
Mr Hughes said: “This is a big day for the club, and also a big day for Hartlepool.
“The Princess opened the club in 1998, and it is a huge honour for us to be able to welcome her back a second time.”
Mr Gibbon added: “It is excellent that the Princess Royal has visited two clubs on her visit to the north.
“She was at Scaling Dam earlier, and now Hartlepool.
“Her visit is much appreciated by everyone involved with the clubs, and it helps to put the sport on the map.”
The main purpose of the Princess Royal’s visit was to officially launch the THYC Sailability Pontoon which helps disabled members of those with restricted mobility.
The pontoon was bought by the club earlier this year, and was part funded with help from the local authority and a grant from Sport England.
Wearing a tartan skirt and a blue jacket, Her Royal Highness carried umbrella to shelter from heavy rain as she made her way around the club’s yard to greet selected visitors.
Other guests included the High Sheriff of Durham, Gerry Osborne, and his consort Pamela Osborne, as well as Hartlepool Borough Council deputy mayor Mary Fleet and Coun Sheila Griffin.
There were also 150 representatives from various groups who use the club, including young cadets, long-serving members and people with disabilities who will take advantage of the new facilities.
The Princess was presented with a painting of the club and a posy of flowers before she made the short road trip to be to be whisked away by helicopter at 4.35pm.
Her Royal Highness then cut the ribbon on the new £100,000 training facility and boat storage area,