Grafham Water celebrates 50 years with visit from the Duke of Edinburgh

Duke of Edinburgh is welcomed by local school pupils to Graham Water where he was visiting to celebr

Duke of Edinburgh is welcomed by local school pupils to Graham Water where he was visiting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reservoir. Matthew Power Photography - Credit: Archant

The Duke of Edinburgh returned to Grafham Water yesterday (Wednesday), 50 years after he originally opened it in 1966.

The Duke of Edinburgh on his visit in 1966.

The Duke of Edinburgh on his visit in 1966. - Credit: Archant

As well as celebrating the landmark anniversary, the Duke’s visit kicked off a summer of celebration at Grafham Water.

The Duke also officially opened Anglian Water’s brand new, state-of-the-art storage reservoir and pumping station. The site has been built next to the existing Grafham Water treatment works, outside of Perry.

The new £28million facility will store an additional 40million litres of treated water to secure supplies for more than a million homes and businesses in the growing Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes area for decades to come.

On the banks of the reservoir at the Grafham Water Fishing Lodge hundreds of people from the local community, Grafham activity clubs, and Anglian Water employees, gathered for the anniversary celebrations.

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Peter Simpson, Anglian Water’s chief executive, said: “We were thrilled to have the Duke of Edinburgh here honouring Grafham Water with a visit – not just once, but on two landmark occasions in the site’s history.

“And it was fantastic to see so many of our neighbours here to celebrate too. I’d especially like to thank the children from Buckden Primary School who did a fantastic job in designing a flag to mark this very special anniversary and occasion.

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“Grafham Water was a trailblazing project when it was first conceived in the 1960s. The Duke called it ‘far-sighted’ at that time, and we continue to uphold that forward looking approach today.”

The Duke raised a new commemorative flag with the help of the winning designer eight-year-old Louis De Pina from Buckden Primary School,

And launched a flotilla of boats and watercraft on the water in recognition of the Duke’s role as patron of the Grafham Water Sailing Club.

During his visit the Duke took the time to speak with various representatives from the organisations and clubs based at the reservoir. Teenagers from the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme showcased their fire-making skills and from the Grafham Water Sailing Club there were three generations of the Saxton family there to meet the Duke - one of whom, 90-year-old Kenneth Saxton, was chief engineer on the Grafham Water project in the 1960s and met the Duke at the official opening in 1966.

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