So, I said I will do my best. Anyway, finally I got here and I have been trying to do what we can do to help little bits of Burslem. This project here is certainly something of which I could not have been more proud, and the fact, if I may say so, that you Director General at Europa Nostra have decided to give this award for this project is an enormous honour to say the least and a huge encouragement and a great tribute to all the people of my Regeneration Trust, and all those who I know have put so much effort into rescuing this place. I think many of you may realise just how difficult these projects can be, and twice we had to come back to save this place, and the first time we lost all the funding that had been put together so we had to start all over again! But, it really takes rather a lot to prevent me in the determination to find a way of saving and re-using these very special places. And of course there are so many around the country, but this one I think has demonstrated something very special which is that you can also maintain the all-important jobs of a very important pottery here with a great tradition and a great history, and apart from anything else I had to keep it going because we sell some of their products in the shops at Highgrove!
But it has been a wonderful exercise in so many different disciplines, we have so many wonderful volunteers, and for me today to be able to see these studios completed, having seen them all in the beginning of the process, and to see the other studios and workshops occupied by all sorts of different young people is hugely encouraging. Today also provides an opportunity to say that of course without representatives from our many partner organisations such as Stoke on Trent City Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England and the European Regional Development Fund, none of this would have happened because their huge support and assistance has been absolutely crucial.
So although Middleport is just one of my Regeneration Trust's better known projects, I think some of you will be aware of its work around the rest of the United Kingdom in trying to shine a spotlight on important heritage buildings that otherwise are at risk of being lost for ever. In the nearly twenty years since its inception, my Trust has been involved in over ninety projects in one form or another and proved, I think, that regenerating our country's unique heritage can, and does, transform communities and the lives of those in them. So I really could not be more proud of what it has achieved.
As the year goes on you may notice some small changes as my Regeneration Trust adapts to secure its future for the next twenty years and beyond, when I have lost my marbles and I cannot provide quite as much as I like to! So I very much that you will support Ian, Ros and the team as this chapter unfolds.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, the other thing of course that gives me such pleasure is to see the steam engine come back into use. I remember annoying poor Ros when we first came and I spotted it, rather dusty, when I opened the door, and I said "good God look at this!" and I said you've got to do something about restoring this, and of course the wonderful thing are all these steam enthusiasts and retired engineers and goodness knows who else who are lovingly helping to bring it back to life. I hope the next time I come here we can have a good flash up of the old steam engine!
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, finally the vision for this particular part of the pottery was to restore what was originally an old packing house and create a business hub for craftspeople to work in and exhibit their products, and I am enormously grateful to CTD Architects and Sneyd Contractors for all their efforts and I hope you all agree that they have done a marvellous job.
So nothing could give me greater pleasure other than of course having seen The Great British Throw Down and the people who took part in it, to open the new Prince of Wales Studios.