Prince Edward visits Leeds

Young people at one of the biggest and most historic youth clubs in Leeds put on a right royal show – for a very special visitor.

Members of The Hunslet Club starred in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza as they welcomed HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, when he paid a royal visit to Leeds yesterday.

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The Queen's youngest son was treated to a display of dance, music and sports skills during his visit, which saw him unveil a plaque to commemorate the club's 70th anniversary.

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His Royal Highness was shown around the state-of-the-art facilities by chief executive officer Dennis Robbins and club chairman Martin Arnold MBE, who is due to retire later this year after taking on the role in 1963.

He also saw some of the vocational learning workshops, where more than 380 young people gain skills and qualifications towards employment every year, as well as meeting staff and volunteers.

The club's arts development worker Philippa Ranger said: "The children and young people were buzzing with excitement to dance and perform in front of royalty and will remember this day for the rest of their lives.

"Everyone worked very hard to make this event so special."

Paying tribute to Mr Arnold, Mr Robbins said: "Martin has dedicated a lifetime to help the club give thousands of children and young people the opportunities to grow and develop since he first took charge in 1963.

"It is a fitting tribute that prior to his retirement after such a length of service to the community that he should have the honour of showing Prince Edward around our facilities."

During his visit to Leeds, the Earl of Wessex also toured the new 12m home of Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance, before performing the opening ceremony at the Quarry Hill centre.

The purpose-built landmark, which includes seven dance studios and specialist facilities and equipment, is in the middle of a week of celebrations, culminating in an open day on Saturday from 11.30am until 5pm.

For more information or to book a place, visit: www.northernballet.com/open day or call 0113 220 8008.

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