THERE was a warm welcome for Princess Anne on a cold, damp day in Mirfield yesterday.
The Princess Royal was visiting Shepley Bridge Marina, to see the work of Liversedge-based charity the Safe Anchor Trust, which runs barge trips along the Calder and Hebble Navigation from the marina and maintains the canalside.
She was greeted by Safe Anchor Trust chairwoman Jane Gummer, trust founder Les Moss, Mirfield Mayor Colin Fretwell and Kirklees Mayor Clr Barbara Allonby.
During her hour-long visit, the Princess learned about the charity's work since it was set up in 1995. It now has three trip boats, with one specially- adapted for wheelchairs and prams.
The charity runs canal trips for children to meet Santa Claus and trips for projects by British Waterways and schools which help children to learn about the environment.
The charity also has two work boats, used to carry out canalside improvements. Most are done by offenders under community service orders.
For its work in 2003, the charity gained the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award. It has also been granted three years of cash from the Duke of York's Community Initiative.
Mrs Gummer said: "We are extremely thrilled and honoured to host a visit by the Princess Royal.
"It is a tremendous thank-you for all the hard work our volunteers put in."
The Princess's first official duty yesterday was to recommission the recently renovated Lady Victoria barge.
She also boarded the barge and spent 10 minutes with children from Glenaire Primary School, near Saltaire, who had used the barge to gather canal samples for a science project.
The Princess then visited the E Austen Johnson barge, which is adapted for wheelchair and pushchair use.
She was introduced to disabled members of the Hospitallers of St John of God charity, who use the barge.
She visited several more barges and spoke to people working for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and members of West Yorkshire Probation Service.
She also met offenders who carry out community service at the marina.
Community service supervisor Bill Bartholomew said: "She asked about our work. I told her we use the skills the offenders have got."
The Princess had lunch on the E Austen Johnson before finally unveiling a plaque in a new memorial garden. The garden is dedicated to Linda Brearley, who ran the marina with her partner, Brian Best, until her death from cancer last December.
Mr Best said: "Princess Anne is a wonderful envoy. It was nice that she agreed to open the garden for us."
Linda's grandson, Aiden Robertshaw, eight, and Mr Best's grand-daughter Abby Moffatt, 20 months, gave the Princess a bouquet of white roses.
Earlier, she officially opened the Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
Her two-day visit to West Yorkshire was continuing today with a trip to the Scout Sailing Centre at Scammonden.