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Prince Charles' Visit

HRH The Prince of Wales braved a torrential downpour on 23 May 2003 to celebrate the restoration of the Kennet & Avon Canal - finally complete after 50 years.

Prince Charles, who is Patron of The Waterways Trust, toured the canal by boat and by helicopter. At Bradford-on-Avon Wharf, he talked to canal volunteers in the setting of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust's shop, where he unveiled a plaque.

Then, at the Caen Hill Lock Flight in Devizes, he took a short trip on a narrowboat, before unveiling a lockside plaque commemorating both his visit and the restoration work. In his speech, the Prince praised the project's success in bringing historic buildings and lock structures back to life - and recommended the view of the canal from a helicopter!

Finally, Prince Charles visited Crofton Pumping Station on the Kennet & Avon Canal close to Hungerford. The Pumping Station, with its distinctive brick chimney now restored to its original height of 82-feet, houses two working beam engines. One, the oldest steam-powered beam engine in the world, is still operational in its original building and still doing the job for which it was designed.