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The Prince of Wales opens the sports centre at Dumfries House

29th April 2015

The Prince of Wales plays table tennis during the official opening of a new sports centre on the Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock.

The Prince of Wales plays table tennis during the official opening of a new sports centre on the Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock.

The Prince of Wales tried out the facilities the new sports centre at Dumfries House has to offer today.

His Royal Highness also tried his hand at badminton and table tennis as he officially opened a new sports centre at Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock, East Ayrshire.

The Prince, known as The Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, helped save the estate from closure in 2007 when he led a consortium of charities and heritage bodies which bought the house and its land.

The purchase led to Dumfries House opening to the public for the first time in 250 years in summer 2008 and a number of education, sport and activity centres have now moved on to the estate.

The latest indoor centre has a sports hall and climbing wall which The Prince said "looks unbelievably scary to me".

His Royal Highness toured the hall, speaking to climbers on the wall and schoolchildren taking part in football, badminton and table tennis classes, before hopping on to an exercise bike during a class involving dozens of local women.

Spin class instructor Sharon McQuillan was surprised by the new member in her class.

She said: "I can't believe he got on the bike - that was great.

"I was really surprised because it's a hard class and it's even hard just to get on the bike. Maybe he'll come back soon and do a full class, I'm sure he could last it, no problem, although I don't think he should wear his suit.

"When you've got young grandchildren you need to be able to get down on the floor and back up again so it'll be good for him to take part."

He said: "We can't always rely on the weather here so an indoor centre was always a priority and we know what a difference it can make to local youth groups, football clubs and general fitness classes.

"It offers a multitude of opportunities and it wouldn't have been possible without the extraordinary generosity of Bob and Tamar Manoukian, who have been so kind and helpful to so many things we have been doing at Dumfries House."

The opening came on the second of a two-day visit to Dumfires House. 

Yesterday, The Prince opened a Morphy Richards Engineering education centre on the estate.