RACEGOERS welcomed the Princess Royal to a sunny Bangor-on-Dee racecourse yesterday.

Princess Anne hosted a charity lunch at the racecourse before presenting the prizes for the 2.10pm Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Memorial race.

Among those waiting to greet the royal guest at 11.30am were schoolchildren from Bickerton Primary school, near Malpas, who watched as Princess Anne made her entrance from a private helicopter.

The Princess Royal, who is president of Racing Welfare, then met dignitaries before lunch for more than 200 people.

Cedric Burton, chief executive of Racing Welfare. the nominated charity for Bangor-on-Dee for this year. told the Leader: “It’s a great privilege to have Her Royal Highness as president.

“She is a wonderful character who loves racing.

“I spoke to her today about charity work and she made a very inspirational speech.”

A silent auction was held with lots including a morning on the gallops with trainer Tom Dascombe at footballer Michael Owen’s Manor House stables near Malpas and a signed photograph of Grand National winning jockey Tony McCoy.

The Princess Royal then walked around the paddocks and chatted to owners and jockeys.

Tim Marshall from Wirral also spoke to the Princess and said: “She said how lovely it was to come to Bangor-on-Dee and we spoke briefly about racing.

“She talked to most people and was relaxed – she is lovely.”

The Princess Royal then presented the winning jockey of the Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Memorial Race, Aidan Coleman, with his prize before leaving.

Wrexham Mayor Cllr Jim Kelly, who  attended the lunch, said: “Meeting Her Royal Highness is the highlight of the mayoral year and it is tremendous to welcome her to Bangor-on-Dee and Wrexham.

“She is a lovely lady and a hard working member of the Royal Family.

“For her to take time to come here is outstanding and we thank her for coming.”