Charles To Open New Sports Centre

The Prince of Wales will open a new sports centre today on an estate that he helped save from closure.

Charles will spend a second day at Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, and tour a recently-built gym and climbing wall.

In his capacity as great steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust, Charles headed a consortium of charities and heritage bodies which bought the house and its land in 2007.

The purchase stopped the house, contents and estate from being broken up. Dumfries House was opened to the public for the first time in 250 years in summer 2008 and Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, has since been a regular visitor to the estate.

Yesterday, he opened an education centre there.

His visit to Scotland comes as royal watchers await the birth of the Duke's second grandchild.

Some people have gathered in London for the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's child, with reports suggesting the baby is overdue.

But Charles made no mention of the forthcoming addition to the family when he officially opened the new Morphy Richards Engineering education centre at Dumfries House.

Before unveiling a commemorative plaque, Charles told those gathered at the new base: ''The point about this centre, which is really exciting, I think, is that not only is it helping to enthuse young people with the idea of engineering in due course, it also has this engineering 'playground' here which is going to be the only centre of its kind in Scotland.

''I hope it will provide a particularly vital resource for teachers and pupils to promote the importance of engineering.

''I'm so delighted that Dumfries House has yet another really excellent educational resource on its estate, providing further opportunities for heritage-led regeneration for East Ayrshire and indeed beyond.''

On his visit today, Charles will meet local people taking part in exercise classes at the gym, as well as instructors and staff at the centre.

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