PLANS to redevelop Fort Nelson were given a resounding endorsement by Prince Michael of Kent.
The prince yesterday visited the Royal Armouries site on Portsdown Hill to unveil a plaque marking the £3.5m project to develop the 19th-century fort in to a museum fit for the 21st century.
He later visited volunteers at the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help in Hilsea to honour them for the work they do in supporting servicemen and women.
At Fort Nelson, the prince was shown around the site and told about the new ‘Voice of the Guns’ gallery which will house some of the best big guns in the collection.
He was joined by local business leaders who are being invited to sponsor the guns featured in the new gallery.
Prince Michael, who is the Queen’s cousin, told them: ‘I hope what you’ve just seen will inspire you to support this splendid project here that is very close to my heart.’
Sean Mannie, head of Royal Armouries South, said he was ‘delighted’ with the prince’s support. ‘We are looking forward to unveiling our new facilities to the public in the summer,’ he added.
Prince Michael went on to SSAFA Forces Help in Peronne Road, Hilsea, and presented volunteers with certificates marking long service with the forces’ charity.
The Prince, who is the national president of SSAFA Forces Help, had especially requested a visit to meet volunteers in Portsmouth.
He said: ‘It’s always a great treat for me to come and meet SSAFA Forces Help on the ground, at the sharp end as you are.’
He presented certificates to volunteers, including Bronwen Williams, 77, of Southsea, who has worked for the charity for 15 years.
She said: ‘It’s a real honour to meet him.’