That other time Prince Charles was in Wigan...

Prince Charles and Princess Diana chat to Stephen Hooton and his proud dad Jim as they arrive at Wigan North Western station en route to Skelmersdale in 1986
Prince Charles and Princess Diana chat to Stephen Hooton and his proud dad Jim as they arrive at Wigan North Western station en route to Skelmersdale in 1986

Our top columnist Geoffrey Shryhane recalls the time Prince Charles briefly popped in to say hello in the 1980s.

I had been warned that there was a “big story” about to break involving Wigan Little Theatre.

Oh, I thought… well that sounds very exciting.

But it was all top secret. Hush hush. And my ponderings pointed me to one area of news which is always embargoed.

A royal visit.

So it wasn’t long before I learned from a long-time WLT actor when we bumped into each other at Robin Park that Prince Charles was coming to Wigan.

“We’re all over the moon,” he said. “Believe me, a lot of painting is going on just now.”

It’s the first time Prince Charles has visited our marvellous amateur theatre in its long history.

During his visit the Prince of Wales met a variety of officials and actors and hear snatches of drama.

Before the theatre visit, the heir to the throne took a tour of the successful new arts centre at the Old Courts and then the sweet smell of success as he dropped into Uncle Joe’s mint ball factory on Dorning Street.

It’s the first time Prince Charles has visited Wigan, although he once arrived at Wigan North Western Station along with his then wife Princess Diana whilst on their way to a factory in Skelmersdale.

And what an outside-the-station enthusiastic welcome they received.

My hope is that lots of locals will turn up at all three venues to give Prince Charles a right royal Wigan welcome.

Our future King will be in Wigan for around two and a half hours – 150 happy and glorious minutes. Wow.