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The Prince of Wales marks the 70th anniversary of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

2nd November 2016

HRH with Falcon Scott, grandson of explorer Robert Falcon Scott, during a visit to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

HRH with Falcon Scott, grandson of explorer Robert Falcon Scott, during a visit to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

The Prince of Wales has visited a wetland centre to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

His Royal Highness, President of the Trust since 1979, paid a visit to Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire to meet staff, volunteers and supporters in the charity’s 70th year. The conservation charity protect, repair and create new wetlands to act as sanctuaries for wildlife. The WWT runs 10 wetland centres around the UK, which receive a million visitors a year.

During the visit, The Prince toured the former house of WWT Founder Sir Peter Scott, which has been preserved from when he lived there until his death in 1989.

Sir Peter was the son of Scott of the Antarctic and founded WWT, as well as his work as a broadcaster. He founded WWT at Slimbridge in 1946 and built his home there - including a painter's studio overlooking a lake that he created. It was there that the first live BBC wildlife programme was broadcast in 1953.

His Royal Highness enjoyed the view from the Severn Observatory tower, and saw extensive views across the centre’s 667 acres of wetlands.

Birds including flamingos and critically endangered Hawaiian geese are part of the collection, which is seen by 240,000 visitors each year.

The Prince of Wales speaks to staff and volunteers during a visit to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Slimbridge Wetland Centre

The Prince of Wales speaks to staff and volunteers during a visit to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Slimbridge Wetland Centre

The Prince then joined a reception to celebrate the anniversary and cut a wildlife themed cake.

His Royal Highness said: "I was trying to recall how long ago it was that I first came here.

"I remember a long time ago the great joy of coming here when Peter Scott was here.

"As a great admirer of Peter Scott, I think how lucky I was to have known him a little in those days.

"I just wanted to use this opportunity to congratulate all of you for the immense amount of hard work and effort you have put in for this.

“So many of these organisations wouldn't be able to do what they do without the marvellous volunteers.”

Dot Jones, 66, from Stroud, is one of the charity’s 700 volunteers and has been volunteering in the visitor services department for eight years.

She said: "It was a privilege to meet [The Prince] and represent all the volunteers who work so closely with the staff here.”