PRINCESS Anne has officially opened the refurbished Drumfork Community Centre in Helensburgh.

Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque at the renovated facility on Friday, January 24 to mark the completion of a £2 million project.

Work at the hub in Churchill Square started around two years ago, with much of the funding coming from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).

A 'soft launch' took place last year and the centre has been open to military personnel, their families and members of the wider community for almost three months.

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“It is an honour to have Her Royal Highness join us today to officially open the renovated Drumfork Community Centre,” said Captain Nick Gibbons, Captain of HMS Neptune at HM Naval Base Clyde.

“The team has worked tremendously hard to create an environment which will provide significant support to our service families, as well as presenting opportunities for the local area.

“We were delighted that The Princess Royal took the time to meet so many of those involved in the creation of the centre and also speak with those who will use and benefit from the facility.”

Greeting The Princess Royal during the visit were local school children from John Logie Baird Primary, Parklands School, St Joseph’s Primary and Clarendon, part of Lomond Junior School. Members of the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers were also on hand to welcome the Queen's only daughter to the Drumfork Centre.

The tour included a visit to the nursery within the centre, St Margaret’s Community Church and IT training facilities.

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The Princess Royal also met with key donors including representatives from the MacRobert Trust, Greenwich Hospital, British Forces Broadcasting Services Scotland, the Royal Marines Association and the Royal Navy Association.

The RNRMC’s director of fund-raising, Alasdair Akass, said: “The physical manifestation of our philosophy to play our part in building community resilience among naval service families is no better demonstrated than in this flagship project in Helensburgh.

“The fully refurbished Drumfork Community Centre represents the biggest demonstration to date of putting the weight of the RNRMC behind our beneficiaries.”

Work began on the Drumfork Centre in 2018 when a £2m contract was awarded to local firm Stewart and Shields to upgrade the facility.

The refurbishment is linked to the joint Strategic Delivery and Development Framework (SDDF) agreement signed between the Ministry of Defence and Argyll and Bute Council in February 2017.

The Memorandum of Understanding commits both parties to work together to find ways which the investment in HM Naval Base Clyde can benefit the entire Helensburgh and Lomond community.

Work on improving the environs of the centre is set to continue with an impressive new play area being developed outside Drumfork.

The finished play area is expected to be completed later this year.

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