County News: Prince Charles asked to remove West Sussex town’s ‘stain’

Prince Charles ANL-140730-083917009
Prince Charles ANL-140730-083917009

PRINCE Charles has been urged to help in a bid to restore the good name of of a West Sussex town.

Campaigners keen to promote the seaside resort of Bognor Regis have written to the heir to the throne at Clarence House to politely request he consider lifting the stain some would say has cursed its reputation.

The prince’s great-grandfather, King George V, infamously uttered the refrain ‘Bugger Bognor’ during his reign.

The caustic comment is said to have come in 1929 when the king was despatched to Craigweil House in Aldwick to benefit from the sea air and help his recovery from a lung operation.

Three months later, he was well enough to depart and when asked to grant the town the accolade of ‘Regis’ – the Latin for of the king – he reportedly said ‘bugger Bognor’, yet gave permission.

4BR, a group aiming to promote the town through regeneration and enhanced tourist attractions, has appealed to the royal heir to ‘kick the bugger out of Bognor’.

4BR spokesman Steve Goodheart believes the prince will be sympathetic given it is said he visited its shores in the 1980s with sons William and Harry along with Princess Diana when she called on her father, Earl Spencer, at his house in Aldwick.

Speaking before his election as a town councillor, he said: “It’s time to rid Bognor of this stigma. We have invited Prince Charles to support our campaign and in so doing it will help ‘kick the bugger out of Bognor’ and allow the town to flourish.

“We see this as a big chance for a bright future of what can be a fantastic seaside resort and that can only be helped by the backing of the future monarch.”

4BR has ambitious plans for the town’s regeneration. They include creating a lagoon to the east of the town to encourage water sports and safe swimming and public building redevelopments to house an art gallery, community centre, shops, restaurants and bars.

The Tate has a positive interest in the gallery for its roving shows.

“The town has become tired, flat and generally worn-out,” said Mr Goodheart. “We need to cultivate a ‘wow’ factor and do it with panache and style. We know the desire, scope and ambition can allow us to do exactly that.”

The group has been helped by prestigious London architect Paul Newman.

“Those who know Bognor well realise there is validity to our vision of a 21st-century town which leaves its music hall identity firmly in the past,” said Mr Goodheart.