HARD-WORKING staff at a leading Ulverston business and local schoolchildren welcomed The Duke of York to the town.

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, visited Forge Europa on Prince’s Street to officially open its new million pound plus Lighting Solutions Centre.

Pupils from St Mary’s Primary School were there One of those who spoke to the Prince was Gabby Wheeler, 10, who said afterwards: “He was really nice. He asked what we wanted to be when we grow up and I said I wanted to be a journalist. It has been a really exciting day.”

Brother and sister Annie and Edward Simpson were also there and Annie brought along a piece of schoolwork to present to the Duke.

The Duke was presented with a basket of LED lights and Cumbrian sausages. Picking out a light and holding it aloft, he joked: “What I’ll do is I’ll put this on The Queen’s desk for you.”

Addressing staff and invited guests, His Royal Highness said: “(Forge Europa) has the potential to deliver a huge amount, not only for the local community but for the international one as well. Lighting and energy efficiency is one of the best ways that we can contribute towards the effects of climate change. I hope that not only will this new centre get a lot of footfall but will generate a lot of jobs and work in the local community.”

Peter Barton, managing director said, “We are delighted that, not only has The Duke of York taken the time to open our new facility, but he has also taken such a personal and well informed interest in the future of product innovation in the UK.”