Prince expresses fondness for Napier at Coastguard meeting

By Roger Moroney

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When Hawke's Bay Coastguard committee member Erin Lawrence came face-to-face with Prince Charles a fortnight ago she put in a good word for the Bay.

"It was raining in Auckland and I told him the weather would have been much better back in Hawke's Bay - and he laughed," she said.

Ms Lawrence was one of 17 volunteers drawn from each of the Coastguard districts who were selected to meet Prince Charles, who is the patron of Coastguard, at a special gathering at the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre.

The Prince had asked that during his visit to New Zealand he be given the opportunity to pay tribute to the network of nearly 2500 trained Coastguard volunteers.

On November 12 he got that opportunity and was taken from Devonport across to the Marine Rescue Centre at Mechanics Bay aboard one of the Coastguard rescue boats.

"He drove it part of the way," Ms Lawrence said.

She said she felt honoured to be chosen to be one of the Coastguard representatives the Prince got to meet and chat to.

"It was the first time I've met royalty. He was a lovely guy - very genuine with everyone."

After looking over the centre's communications room he spent about 30 minutes chatting to the Coastguard staff and regional representatives. Coastguard CEO Patrick Holmes introduced the Prince to Ms Lawrence and told him where she was from - then asked the Prince if he had been to Napier. "Oh yes," he replied.

"It's a lovely place."

Then she told him about the Bay's better weather.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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