THE Prince of Wales called Uley "a very special village" on his visit to officially open its community store today.

Prince Charles was greeted with rapturous applause on his arrival, with over 400 people waving and cheering and some even hanging out of windows to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family member.

His Royal Highness was met by chairman of Uley Community Store and Post Office, Peter Randall, who introduced him to some key volunteers and figures in the village’s community.

The Prince was in a jovial mood, taking time to meet and chat to many people as he made his way to the store and on entering the small shop and seeing the people squashed inside waiting to meet him, he joked: "I’ve ruined the business."

After a tour around the store, Prince Charles met with some more volunteers serving behind the counter and was presented with gifts including a specially-made cake and a book on the history of Uley, one of which he signed for the store.

More than 300 Uley residents raised £51,000 last year by buying shares to keep the shop open after the previous owners announced they were leaving.

The Duke of Cornwall was astounded to hear that 70 villagers were signed up as volunteers, calling it "a fantastic achievement".

"It is a very special village," he said. "There is a wonderful valley that you go down to get to here.

"It’s all very nicely done here, thank you all for the mementos."

On leaving the store the Prince was given yet another round of applause from the crowds who braved freezing temperatures to meet him as he unveiled a plaque by the shop's door.

However the first in line to the throne did not appear to be ready to leave and spent another half an hour walking round the crowds, shaking hands and talking to pensioners, school children, families and even the local policemen.

Uley Primary School was on hand to show off their brightly coloured Union Jack flags made specially for his visit and presented him with several large posters they had made showing pictures and signatures of the children, as well as a portrait of Prince Charles himself.

Chairman Peter Randall believed the visit went well and was left impressed by the Prince.

"It really was a really super event, it added that bit of sparkle to what we have achieved in the last few years," he said.

"I think everybody enjoyed themselves today, he spent a lot of time here and shook almost everybody’s hand. He made everyone feel very comfortable and he was genuinely interested in what we were stocking."

Half an hour over his scheduled time, the Prince waved to the onlookers one last time before leaving to three cheers from the crowds.

Find a full report and pictures in the Gazette on Thursday, February 28.