HRH The Princess Royal visited Poole’s Victoria Education Centre to mark the completion of the college’s new £2.8m hydrotherapy pool.

Princess Anne, who is the patron of national disability charity Livability – the organisation which runs the college – toured the new facility for an hour and enjoyed a programme of activities involving students.

She watched as youngsters took part in a sensory session in the new pool, before touring the college’s media centre then enjoying a table cricket demonstration.

The princess even helped retrieve a ball after a particularly impressive shot by one of the young players, much to the appreciation of the gathered guests.

Addressing these guests, HRH praised the work of everyone connected with the charity and college.

She said: “It is already making a difference for these young people who have access to the pool. I have been able to see that for myself.”

The Victoria Education Centre is a leading day and residential school and sports college, offering specialised care, education and sport for around 100 young people, aged 4-19, with disabilities.

College principal Chris Davies said: “We were delighted to welcome again HRH The Princess Royal to our school.

“Her Royal Highness launched the start of the building works for the pool a year and a half ago, and we were really proud to now be able to show her this fantastic new addition to our facilities.

“Our state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool is already making a difference to the well-being of our students and we would also like to thank everyone who donated to our Sparkle Appeal for their generosity.”

Livability launched this appeal - to put the ‘sparkle’ into life for its young disabled students – as part of a programme of new therapy facilities at the Lindsay Road college.

The pool, complete with a full range of sensory equipment and a hoist system, was opened in September.