Old archive photos of Prince Philip in Hunts in 1966

The Duke of Edinburgh at the officially opening of Grafham Water in July 1966.

The Duke of Edinburgh at the officially opening of Grafham Water in July 1966. - Credit: ANGLIAN WATER

In July, 1966,  a trailblazing project to build a reservoir at Grafham, that would supply 40 million litres of water to homes in the East Anglian region, was opened by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke later became patron of the Grafham Water Sailing Club. 

The plans for Grafham Water were conceived in the 1960s and later the Duke described the project as "far-sighted". The innovative project also marked a huge step forward for the industry as it planned to use the reservoir for recreation as well.

In July 1966, 2,400 acres of farmland at Grafham were flooded to supply water to thousands of new homes in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Without Grafham Water, Milton Keynes could not have been built. 

In 1966, the Duke carried out the official opening duties, but he returned in 2016 and during this visit, he took the time to speak with representatives from the organisations and clubs based at the reservoir.

 

The Duke at Grafham Water in 1966.

The Duke at Grafham Water in 1966. - Credit: ANGLIAN WATER

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Members of the Grafham Water Sailing Club were also there to meet the Duke and there were three generations of the Saxton family - 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.

Duke of Edinburgh at Grafham Water in 1966.

Duke of Edinburgh at Grafham Water in 1966. - Credit: ANGLIAN

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Anglian Water, said, “On behalf of Anglian Water, we extend our condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the family and friends of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. 

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“I would like to pay particular tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh’s passionate advocacy for environmental and community causes, concerns which are close to our hearts here at Anglian Water, too. Our aim is to bring environmental and social prosperity to the region we serve, and I believe that is a mission we shared with His Royal Highness."

The Duke returned to Grafham Water in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening.

Duke of Edinburgh is welcomed by local school pupils to Grafham Water in May 2016.

Duke of Edinburgh is welcomed by local school pupils to Grafham Water where he was visiting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reservoir. May 25 2016. - Credit: MATTHEW POWER PHOTOGRAPHY

Mr Simpson added: "It was particularly appropriate as he had originally opened the site in 1966, when the reservoir was constructed. It was a pleasure to welcome him back, and I recall the community greeted him very warmly."








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