YOUNGSTERS gave the Duke of Edinburgh a real royal welcome when he visited their school.
Prince Philip was invited along to officially open Glendene Arts Academy in Easington Colliery, which has undergone a £2.3million refurbishment and extension.
The prince was greeted with cheers and flag waving from the children at the special needs school in Crawlaw Road before being taken on a guided tour of the building, viewing the newly-enhanced facilities at the academy and finally unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the event, as well as signing the visitor book.
As a special welcome to the duke, the Glendene Signing Choir sang and signed the national anthem as well as Take That’s Rule the World.
The new extension provided under the Building Schools for the Future initiative, includes a sports hall, food technology and art rooms and digital media suite was completed last year and the school was officially granted academy status in September.
During his visit the Duke of Edinburgh was shown some of the work done with the children, aged two-19-years-old, to help them progress, such as bounce therapy on the trampolines, which the youngsters thoroughly enjoy.
He was also shown around the academy’s art gallery, which houses work by the pupils as well as other artists and is a community facility the school is very proud of.
Eric Baker, Glendene Arts Academy Principal, said, “We were so proud to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to open our Academy.
“It is a great honour and it was a day that will be remembered by everyone at Glendene as well as in the local community.
“The children have been so excited about him coming to our school. I am over the moon because Easington has had some bad press, but the community here are so supportive of us.”
At the end of the visit, pupils, Amiee-Leigh Duffield, nine, and 13-year-old, James Watson, presented Prince Philip with a book featuring art work by the children.
Aimee-Leigh said: “It was really good to meet him.”
And, James said: “Everyone was excited. I think I was chosen because I have been a good lad. It was fantastic and I will always remember it.”
During his visit to County Durham, the 91-year-old Duke also went along to Langley Park Primary School to open a Royal Garden.