Royal guest charms Methil Heritage Centre staff

Royal Dolly bird gatecrashes Duke of Edinburgh's convoy leaving Methil
Royal Dolly bird gatecrashes Duke of Edinburgh's convoy leaving Methil
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METHIL enjoyed a Royal boost when locals were positively charmed by a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip, who was conferred the title Lord High Admiral by The Queen this year to celebrate his 90th birthday, visited Methil Heritage Centre’s ‘Methil and Merchant Marine’ exhibition.

A sizeable crowd on Methil High Street had to wait a little longer than scheduled as the royal visitor found himself caught in a traffic jam at Kirkcaldy’s Redhouse roundabout.

Meanwhile, a number of dignitaries, councillors, staff and volunteers waited nervously inside.

Among them stood researcher Bill Gold – a Friend of Methil Heritage – who had taken a year putting together the exhibition charting Levenmouth’s marine history.

Mr Gold asked the duke to attend because he had served on the Destroyer Escort HMS Wallace, part of the Rosyth Escort Force during the Second World War.

Referring to the Royal’s infamous ‘dump’ comment, Mr Gold explained: “What he actually saw was billowing clouds of coal dust as the coal fell into great empty holes.

“If you saw that from a ship out in the Forth anyone would have thought, ‘What a terrible place to live’.”

Mr Gold was joined by the centre’s manager Graham Ritchie in giving Prince Philip a personal tour of the exhibition.

Describing the experience, he said: “He’s a remarkable chap, very easy to talk to. He doesn’t stand on ceremony.”

The duke raised a laugh when he caught sight of an old photo of a tram in Denbeath. “Sell it to Edinburgh”, he quipped.

Graham Ritchie gave the royal visit a huge thumbs up.

“He was delighted to see the exhibition, asked a lot of questions and was very interested in our paintings and displays,” he said.

“He also talked to us about the number of miners who came from here that actually served on HMS Wallace.

Describing the duke as a “charming man,” Mr Ritchie added: “He was highly amused when he saw Hitler’s soup plate – that got a chuckle!

After the tour, he chatted with staff and volunteers and was presented with a watercolour of HMS Wallace by artist Rachael Ritchie.

The exhibition runs until August 27.

And it’s farewell from her...

THE Duke’s departure took a cheeky turn when his Royal convoy was gatecrashed by a rather saucy escort.

Spectators gasped – and laughed – when an unofficial car joined the procession as it drove through Lower Methil.

A witness said: “The two Range Rovers left at a sedate pace along the High Street then this other car pulled in behind.

“It had its sun roof open and a blow up doll showing from the waist up, boobs and everything, with her plastic arm waving away!

“A police car came after it at a quite a speed – to try to intercept it I presume.

“Only in Methil...”

To watch the spectacle online, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=d012lTFV6wc