HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, visited the National Coastwatch station at Hengistbury Head.

Princess Anne visited the station and met Dorset volunteers on Wednesday, February 14.

The Princess Royal is the Royal Patron of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), a charity run entirely by volunteers.

This year, the charity celebrates its 30th anniversary of helping save lives around the coast.

Princess Anne was welcomed at the station by His Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Mr Angus Campbell, CVO, who presented NCI deputy chair Chris Aps, who in turn introduced NCI Hengistbury Head station manager Peter Holway.

Chris said: "We are all delighted that the Princess is visiting Hengistbury Head.

"She is such a wonderful royal patron; she is very knowledgeable and supportive of the National Coastwatch.

"There are 2,700 people who are very grateful for what she does, and it was wonderful to see her today."

Peter Holway escorted Her Royal Highness into the station's watch room for a briefing about the work of the highly trained volunteer watchkeepers.

Watchkeepers Victoria Jago and Vincent Tabor were on duty and were introduced to Her Royal Highness.

Peter said: "NCI Hengistbury Head keep a visual and radio watch during daylight hours.

"Watches start at 8am and close at sunset; in the summer, there is 11-hour coverage and beyond if needed."

The Hengistbury Head station is one of the busiest in the charity's network of 60 coastal stations in terms of incident recording, with more than 60 incidents a year logged in the last two years.

Hengistbury Head is one of six stations on the Dorset coast including Swanage, Portland, St. Alban's Head and two in Lyme Bay.

After visiting the station, The Princess Royal attended a reception at the nearby St Nicholas Church hall.

Bournemouth Echo: The Princess Royal meeting some of the NCI volunteersThe Princess Royal meeting some of the NCI volunteers (Image: NQ)

The reception was attended by more than 50 NCI watchkeepers and station managers from other NCI Stations in the region.

Stephen Hand, NCI Chair, welcomed Her Royal Highness to NCI Hengistbury Head and thanked her for her visit.

He then invited her to present five-year service awards to six watchkeepers and unveil a commemorative plaque, which will be placed in the Hengistbury Head station.

Stephen said: "HRH Princess Royal takes an active interest in our work, and we're privileged that she is our patron.

"Whenever she visits one of our stations, it's always a huge boost for everyone involved and really helps to shine a spotlight on the work of our dedicated volunteers."