Prince of Wales visit brings Larne to a standstill

Prince Charles chats with local schoolchildren. INLT 26-480-PR
Prince Charles chats with local schoolchildren. INLT 26-480-PR

There was a real buzz in the air in Larne town centre on Tuesday, June 25 as swathes of excited people turned out to greet a very special visitor.

In an historic day for the town, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales arrived at the McGarel Town Hall for an event hosted by Larne Borough Council.

Details of Princes Charles’ visit had been kept tightly under wraps, but word quickly spread throughout the town and before long, hundreds of local people had taken up position on Upper Cross Street.

And when the prince’s entourage pulled up outside the refurbished building, it was met by cheers of adulation from the growing crowd, which included a number of pupils both of the town’s secondary schools and many local primary schools.

Onlookers jostled for position in an attempt to get the best possbile view of the prestigious royal visitor – with some even taking up vantage points on nearby rooftops.

The prince was greeted by Larne Mayor Maureen Morrow, chief executive Geraldine McGahey and the Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Joan Christie OBE.

But before entering the Town Hall to kick start proceedings, HRH took a few minutes to greet the onlookers who had packed the footpaths, and he seemed to make the younger members of the crowd his top priority.

The purpose of his visit was to meet with members of the local farming community who were affected by the severe weather earlier this year, as well as the many agencies which provided vital support to those most in need during the unprecedented crisis.

At the end of the reception, HRH was invited to unveil a plaque in the Town Hall to mark his visit.

The Prince was also presented with a painting by well-known local artist, Sam McLarnon, depicting the Black Arch on the Antrim Coast Road – which he described as a “marvellous” gift.

On his way out, Prince Charles took the opportunity to sign the visitors book and pose for a photograph with local councillors.

And when he emerged from the Town Hall, HRH once again mingled with the rapturous crowd before departing.

The prince’s trip to Larne was his second engagement of the day, having previously visited Wrightbus in Ballymena with his wife The Duchess of Cornwall.

However, Camilla did not join Prince Charles on his visit to Larne, and instead attended Broughshane Library to celebrate National Bookstart Week.