Craig and Lough meet Duke of Cambridge
27 November 2013
Para-swimmers Josef Craig and Nicole Lough joined the Duke of Cambridge to help open South Shields’ new £16m swimming pool.
The Duke met scores of cheering schoolchildren and excited members of the public before taking a tour of the new facility at Haven Point in Pier Parade and unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the official opening.
"It was a dream come true and one of the biggest honours of my career," - Josef CraigAs well as three pools, Haven Point has an 80 station gym, two dance studios, a sauna and steam room, a cafe, visitor information centre and an outdoor amphitheatre with a terrace and rooftop viewing gallery with stunning seafront views.
And Paralympic gold medallist Craig - who was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2012 - admitted meeting the Duke was an experience he wouldn't forget in a hurry.
“It was amazing to meet The Duke," said Craig. "He is a very busy man and it was fantastic to see him come to South Shields, spend time with the public and talk to me and Nicole.
"He asked me about my future and what it felt like to be part of the London 2012 Paralympics.
"The Duke also said I was an inspiration to others. It was a dream come true and one of the biggest honours of my career. It’s on a par with when I received by MBE from The Queen.”
IPC World Championship bronze medallist Lough is from South Shields and was Haven Point's first customer when the centre opened its doors on Monday 28 October 2013.