Prince Edward visits Portsmouth cycle hub

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IT’S not everyday that you can say you’ve given instructions to royalty.

But that’s exactly what happened to Southsea teenager Jodie Searle when Prince Edward stopped to visit Portsmouth yesterday.

Prince Edward has a go at changing a tyre

Prince Edward has a go at changing a tyre

The Earl of Wessex was visiting Motiv8’s Community Cycle Hub, in Winston Churchill Avenue, to see young people in the city who are tackling the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

Jodie – who is taking on the silver DofE award – was tasked with telling the royal how to change the inner tube of a bike tyre, a skill she had only learned a couple of weeks ago at the hub.

‘It was quite nerve-wracking,’ said the 17-year-old South Downs College pupil.

‘I was shaking throughout. I didn’t expect him to get involved but he was friendly. It was a great experience though.’

The Earl of Wessex at Motiv8 in Portsmouth Pictures: Malcolm Wells

The Earl of Wessex at Motiv8 in Portsmouth Pictures: Malcolm Wells

Wearing a blue apron and a suit, the royal took just over two minutes to replace the inner tube. His visit was part of the celebration marking the DofE’s diamond jubilee this year.

Motiv8 has been delivering the DofE scheme in Portsmouth on behalf of the city council for two years.

As part of the prince’s trip, he met pupils from St Edmund’s Catholic School, Charter Academy, Portsmouth College and Highbury College.

Prince Edward – himself a DofE trustee and gold award holder – was given a tour of Motiv8’s bike recycling site, a social enterprise that provides young people with new opportunities and employment.

Speaking to The News, the Prince said: ‘It is great that Motiv8 is providing this opportunity for young people here in Portsmouth.’

The bicycle recycling project opened in Gosport in 2012, followed by the Portsmouth Community Cycle Hub in 2014 and the Naval Base Cycle Hub earlier this year.

Charlie Adle is Motiv8’s chief executive and said the royal visit was great.

He explained the event was a great way to mark the achievements of those young people in the city who are being supported by Motiv8.

Speaking of the Prince’s inner tube-changing skills, he added: ‘He got stuck in, rolled up his sleeves and got involved which was admirable.’

The DofE is open to 14 to 24 year olds and was set up by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956.