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Prince discovers how park has boosted tourism

Prince Charles toured a caravan park near his home at Balmoral to see first-hand how a community has breathed new life into a popular tourist draw.

ONE'S PLEASED TO MEET YOU: The Duke of Rothesay was shown around the Ballater Caravan Park.
ONE'S PLEASED TO MEET YOU: The Duke of Rothesay was shown around the Ballater Caravan Park.

Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, spent a sunny couple of hours at Ballater Caravan Park, in Aberdeenshire, where he spoke with management and visitors.

The park was taken over from the local authority by a charitable organisation which has overseen a range of improvements.

One special guest was 100-year-old Alexander Alexander, known affectionately as "double Sandy", who was there when the park began operating in the 1950s.

Mr Alexander said: "I've seen so many changes here since I helped clear the site in the 50s. It was just me and my boss at the time, then before you know it, it's expanding. It's so great for the village."

He joined Charles as he planted a tree outside the site's new wooden office, which replaces an outdated former Air Training Corps building.

The royal visitor also toured the site, near the River Dee, popping into some caravans on the way.

He took a look around a static caravan owned by Norma Burnett, 70, and husband Bob, 72, who regularly visit from Peterculter, near Aberdeen.

Mrs Burnett said: "He was very friendly and took an interest in the place. It was nice to have him visit."

Mr Burnett joked: "The caravan's never been so clean." Phyllis Stewart, of Springfield Gardens, Aberdeen, welcomed Charles into her caravan for a quick chat, and said: "It was lovely to see him and he seemed to enjoy it.

"And he's picked a lovely day for a tour.

"If I'd known he was coming, I'd have put the kettle on."

Dave Monk, 36, his wife Rachel, 40 and sons Dylan, seven, and Lewis, five, were among the first to speak to the Prince.

The family, from Blenheim in New Zealand, have been working their way around the world, spending this summer at the caravan park as wardens.

The two boys presented Charles with a New Zealand flag and a small toy kiwi.

Mr Monk said: "Kate and William (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) just visited our home town and now we've got the future king of New Zealand here too. It's been great, and the kids have been excited." Charles is staying at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate with wife Camilla, the Duchess of Rothesay. The visit comes just days after her brother Mark Shand died.

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