THE DUKE of York was given a Royal welcome by hundreds of students in Pendle yesterday.

Prince Andrew was making a re-arranged visit to Nelson and Colne College after postponing a planned trip in October.

He was in Nelson to unveil a plaque commemorating the college’s STEM assured status, which recognises excellence in science, engineering, technology and maths.

After an hour-long tour of the site, he congratulated staff and students for their work in making the college the sixth best in the country.

After meeting dignitaries including Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and the Mayor, Councillor Asjad Mahmood, he apologised for his previous no-show.

He said: “Sorry I didn’t make it the first time around. I am delighted to able to see first-hand what the college is instilling in you all.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from - “can’t” is a word that should not exist in your vocabulary.

“I am very keen that all of you should aspire to be much more than you could ever have imagined. Certainly this college intends for that to happen.

“I wish you all every success.”

He also met business students who had set up their own small enterprises and paid tribute to retiring human resources manager Graham Monkhouse, who has worked at the college for 35 years.

Ameena Bibi, 17, introduced the Prince to her firm, Occasions By Ameena, which uses Henna ink designs on ornaments.

She said: “He thought it was a really good idea and knew about the (Tycoon in Schools) project that we were part of. He’s attending the finals in January and I’ve arranged to meet him if I get through.

“He was really taken with the simplicity of it. It was an amazing experience.”

College principal, Amanda Melton, said: “I am incredibly proud to be welcoming The Duke of York to Nelson and Colne College. The ethos of enterprise and innovation is at the heart of everything we do.”