HRH The Duke of York gave his royal seal of approval to Nelson and Colne College during a postponed visit to East Lancashire.
Despite being forced to cancel a visit back in October, Prince Andrew managed to visit the Beacon College on Friday to formally unveil a plaque acknowledging its new STEM assured status.
Nelson and Colne College is the only college in East Lancashire to receive the quality mark, which recognises excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics within the further education sector. The Prince’s visit was part of his continued focus on recognising institutions that support the United Kingdom’s global reputation for science and engineering expertise.
During a speech the Duke, who is the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, said he was “very glad” he had the opportunity to visit the college, and gave his apologies for not being able to come sooner.
His previous visit was cancelled when low-lying fog around Windsor Castle meant take-off could not be permitted for his helicopter, and it was left to Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson to save the day.
He said: “I am sorry I didn’t make it the first time.
“I am very glad I had the opportunity of getting here today, particularly to see you the students and what it is that the college is instilling in you.
“Remember that it doesn’t matter who you are. The word ‘can’t’ does not exist in your vocabulary.”
The Duke was greeted by Pendle dignitaries, including the Mayor of Pendle, Coun. Asjad Mahmood, Mayoress of Pendle, Mrs Samina Khan, deputy chief executive and director of Pendle Council, Philip Mousdale, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, councillor and chairman of governors at Nelson and Colne College, John David, was given a tour of some of the college’s facilities by college principal Amanda Melton, and spent time talking to business students about their enterprise projects.
He left the college via helicopter later in the afternoon.
Talking at the event, Mrs Melton said: “It’s a very exciting day for staff and students at the college.
“We are delighted to welcome Prince Andrew.”
Coun. Mahmood said: “It is good to have the Prince come to Nelson and Colne College, and recognise the fantastic achievements of the sixth best performing college in the country.”
And Mr Stephenson added: “I am delighted that the Duke could take time out of his busy schedule to visit the outstanding Nelson and Colne College.
“I think it’s fantastic that Nelson and Colne College has been recognised as one of the highest achieving colleges in the country, and that it is ensuring all of our young people have all the skills our local employers are looking for.”
Students could barely contain their excitement at the fact a member of royalty was visiting their college, and many were seen waving to the Duke upon his arrival.
And those lucky enough to speak to him were left feeling delighted that they had been given an opportunity to share their business ventures with a Prince.
Bibi Ameena (17), who runs “Occasions by Ameena”, a business selling products inspired by Henna, said: “It was actually amazing. I have never had that experience before.”
Lewis Hargreaves (22), who came up with the idea of “Stick It”, an organisation catered to selling walking sticks to the younger generation, said: “I am disabled, and I walk with a stick.
“There were not many out there that I liked.
“Prince Andrew liked the idea very much.”
And Maryam Ahmed (16), the brain behind “Smooth Lips”, a firm focused on homemade lip balms, said: “I was nervous at first, but I was absolutely chuffed to meet him.
“He said this is an amazing business.”