Prince to attend cathedral ceremony

By Dave GooderhamEXCITEMENT is growing after it was announced that Prince Charles and his new wife would attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Suffolk's mother church.

By Dave Gooderham

EXCITEMENT is growing after it was announced that Prince Charles and his new wife would attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Suffolk's mother church.

Rumours have circulated Bury St Edmunds for months that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall would be guest of honour at a service for St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Millennium tower.

It has now been confirmed that Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will attend the ceremony in Bury St Edmunds later this month.

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They will also visit the town's St Nicholas Hospice - just over 10 years after Princess Diana opened the building, as well as The Guildhall and the Suffolk Preservation Society, both in Lavenham.

Community leaders spoke last night of their delight at the visit, which will take place on July 22 and was confirmed yesterday by Clarence House.

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The Very Rev James Atwell, Dean of St Edmundsbury, said: “We are delighted and thrilled that The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be attending the official celebration event.

“As patron of the project, Prince Charles has always been very supportive and has shown continued interest as the project developed.

“We hope that he will be delighted and inspired with the result of five years' work by a dedicated team of craftsman.”

The £10million tower, standing 150ft in the Suffolk skyline, has constantly attracted the attention of the heir to the throne, who has visited the project twice before and helped the fundraising with a “generous” donation.

Although the service at the cathedral is by invitation only, the streets around the historic building are expected to be lined with excited members of the public, who will able to watch proceedings on a big screen in the Great Churchyard.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will also meet patients, volunteers and staff members at St Nicholas Hospice, which offers care for patients and their families who are living with terminal illnesses like cancer.

Ron Overton, its chief executive, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and delighted. We think this is a reward for the entire hospice and we are all looking forward to sharing the day with him.

“This year is our 21st anniversary and it is a fantastic way to mark so many years in the community.

“This is a huge boost and a massive encouragement to staff and volunteers, patients and their families, while it also shows how highly regarded Suffolk and Bury St Edmunds is with the Royal Family.”

Similar delight was expressed in the picture postcard village of Lavenham where residents have begun gearing up for the royal visit.

Jane Gosling, property administrator at the Guildhall, said: “I think the fact that both the Prince of Wales and his wife are coming makes it even more special.

“I think the whole village will be thrilled with the news and we have already arranged primary school pupils to dress up in Tudor costume and present them with flowers.

“Prince Charles is a big architecture fan and Lavenham is a remarkable place and I am sure he will be very interested.”

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