Bury St Edmunds: Prince of Wales to visit key sites

THE PRINCE of Wales will visit key heritage sites in the area next week, it can be revealed.

Prince Charles is due to come to Bury St Edmunds on March 4 when he will visit St Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Theatre Royal. He will also be shown around Pakenham Water Mill at nearby Pakenham.

The last time the Prince made an official visit to Bury St Edmunds was in July last year when he handed out campaign medals to recently returned troops on Angel Hill.

Martin Lightfoot, chairman of the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust, which owns Pakenham Water Mill, said: “It’s amazing. I only knew about it two or three weeks ago and we had to keep it under wraps.”

He said the Prince would have a tour of the mill, which is the only working water mill in Suffolk and is run entirely by volunteers.

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The current water mill dates back to the late 18th/early 19th century, Mr Lightfoot said, but he added how there had been mention of a water mill on the site in the Domesday Book.

Chris Grady, head of external relations at the Theatre Royal, said: “As far as we know it is the first visit to the Theatre Royal and we are very, very pleased he’s coming to have a look and see the work we are up to.”

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He said the Prince, who is the President of the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, would be coming to see the theatre following the restoration and to see some work by young performers associated with the foundation.

The Ballet Black theatre company and students from Dance East – the dance agency for the Eastern region – will be there during the day, and Ballet Black will be performing that evening.

Mr Grady said: “It is a piece of most important British heritage this theatre and it is the only Regency theatre left in Britain and his interest in architecture and the arts is well-known and put the two together and you have the Theatre Royal.”

Sarah Friswell, a spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Cathedral, said the Prince was coming particularly for a special event to mark the completion of the vaulted ceiling and the organ.

The Prince of Wales is a patron of St Edmundsbury Cathedral’s Millennium Project, which has seen major improvement works take place there.

Complete details about the Prince’s visit were not yet available yesterday.

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