Duke and Duchess of Cambridge put some of the final touches to Sunderland's Northern Spire landmark
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge helped put some of the final touches to Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge - during a visit to Wearside's striking new landmark.
The £117.6million Wear crossing, which is due to open this spring, recieved a Royal visit as Prince William and Kate met with construction workers and children from local schools on either side of the river.
Ten-year-old Ella McKenna, from Highfield Primary School, handed Kate a bouquet of flowers, while Olivia Campbell, 11, from Castletown Primary School, 10-year-old Tommy Lancaster, from Diamond Hall Academy, and Emily Ross, from Northern Saints Primary School, gifted teddy bears for Prince George and Princes Charlotte.
Castletown Primary School pupil Ruby Carney, nine, then gave Prince William a hand-made model of the new bridge.
The Duchess was seen chatting with the children, asking them how they had spent their half-term holidays.
Engineer Peter Smilie later greeted the couple at the north end of the bridge and let them put some of the final touches to the structure by each tightening a bolt with a spanner.
The 32-year-old said: “I found out last week that they were coming and it was a shock really.
“I was nervous to begin with, because it’s not someone you are going to meet every day.
“I’ve only ever seen them on the telly before, so to actually see them in the flesh and be part of what we do is an achievement really.
“Basically, they just tightened up a few of our rails on the parapet.
“They were very friendly, very talkative.”
Les Clark, chief operating officer for place at Sunderland City Council, acted as the main host for the visit to the crossing site, introducing the Royal couple to those involved in the design, construction and planning of the bridge since its inception.
He said: “For the project, this has been fantastic.
“This has been the biggest construction project in the North East for a long time.
“We’ve had more than 2,000 people working on the bridge, nearly a million person hours have been put into it, and for the Duke and Duchess to be here is great for recognising all these people who have put all that hard work in.”