THERE WAS a royal visitor to Accrington back in 2004 when Prince Andrew officially opened the North Lancs Training Group’s new premises.

The Duke of York unveiled a plaque after a massive refurbishment of their Bradshawgate House Centre on Oak Street.

The firm’s 130-strong staff were all there to see the VIP guest as he toured the building and met workers.

And the prince, who has strong links with the Outward Bound Trust, was presented with a special footstool, with the organisation’s logo on, made by a North Lancs Training Group trainee, Andrew Jagger

Prince Andrew spoke to the staff and said: “It’s only through people like yourselves, who have put in a huge amount of work to encourage young people with the necessary skills, that they can compete with the economic environment out there, which is very competitive.

“What you do is absolutely vital for young people. It gives me enormous pleasure to be here today to congratulate you, to thank you and to wish you enormous success in the future.”

Prince Andrew was chairman of the trustees of the Outward Bound Trust, which the training group have been involved with for 25 years. Each year they donate £10,000 to the organisation.

The training group opened in Accrington in 1969 with one employee and now has 130 workers. The have more than 2,000 young people on the NVQ programmes.