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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Cave serenade for Edward
Prince Edward
Prince Edward was escorted around the caves by owner Ashford Price
Prince Edward has been serenaded 500ft beneath a Welsh hillside with one of the county's most famous love songs.

The 45-strong members of the Gyrlais Male Voice Choir entertained The Earl of Wessex with the traditional Welsh melody Myfanwy deep inside the National Showcaves in the upper Swansea Valley.

He was visiting the attraction as part of the UK's first ever Tourism Day which was supported by the Royal Family.

As he arrived at Dan yr Ogof he was greeted by about 100 school children who created a carnival-style atmosphere.

"It was a wonderful place to sing and he asked if it was somewhere we had sung before," said choir secretary Andrew Ingram.

Prince Edward
Pupils from local schools cheered the prince as he arrived

"He obviously knew something about it because he asked if we had to sing it slower than normal because of the acoustics in the cave.

"He said how good it sounded in an environment like this - we had to be very careful when choosing what to sing.

"He was very charming - a lovely man and very talkative."

Welsh costume

After meeting other choir members, who also performed What Would I do Without My Music based on arrangement by Alwyn Humphries of the famous Morriston Orpheus Choir, Prince Edward headed back into the daylight.

Dressed in traditional Welsh costume Rhian Jones, aged nine, of Penycae Primary School was one of those he stopped to talk to in the open air.

"He said how much he enjoyed our singing and asked if we came to the caves a lot," she said.

Youngsters wait for prince
Youngsters waited patiently for the prince to arrive

The boys and girls from Ynysceddwyn Welsh School entertained Prince Edward with traditional folk dancing.

And he also had time to meet his namesake Edward - one of the largest Shire horses in Wales who resides at the centre.

On Tuesday members of the Royal Family were out and about at tourist attractions across the UK highlighting the importance of the industry to the British economy.

General manager at the showcaves, Carl Shaw, said it was a gesture that was much appreciated.

"I think it's a brilliant idea by the whole Royal Family not just to promote our valley but the whole of Britain as a way of hopefully bringing tourists into the country," he said.

"We are one of the oldest tourist attractions in Wales and hopefully today's visit will encourage a few more people to come here.

"We are still running 15% down on what we were before foot and mouth but what is happening today has got to be good for us."

Prince backs Welsh tourism
10 Jun 03  |  Wales

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