THE Earl of Wessex was given a royal welcome on a visit to Wet Wheels at Gunwharf Quays.
On his visit to Portsmouth this week Prince Edward met the team of the charity, which runs a powerboat giving disabled, disadvantaged and elderly people the chance to experience the thrills of the waves.
Wet Wheels founder Geoff Holt said it was a great honour to have the prince visit.
He said: ‘It was a very proud day for all of us.
‘It’s always an honour to have a member of the royal family showing support for what you do, and the fact he chose to come and see Wet Wheels to speak to some of our guests is wonderful.
‘They were the people who the prince wanted to meet - the people who have been out on the boat and enjoyed themselves.’
One of the Wet Wheels guests who met the prince was Anne Savage, of Southsea, who has chronic arthritis.
She said: ‘I feel honoured to be part of this occasion. It’s wonderful being on Wet Wheels.
‘You have the freedom of the seas and are away from the usual drag of life.’
Guests from Treloar’s College in Alton who had used Wet Wheels were also there to meet Prince Edward.
Mr Holt said the charity had taken 1,200 people out on to the Solent since January, which was up 30 per cent on last year’s figure.
He said Wet Wheels hoped to expand by acquiring more boats and running the service at other locations.
Hr Holt said: ‘The more boats we can have around the country, the more people we can get out enjoying the freedom of being on the water and actually getting to drive themselves.’
Gunwharf Quays centre director Colin Wilding said: ‘We are proud to have Geoff at Gunwharf Quays.
‘It’s a great initiative and shows what people can do when they put their mind to it.’