THE Armadillo Youth Café in Yate was given the Royal seal of approval on Tuesday as HRH The Earl Of Wessex officially opened the venue.

Prince Edward arrived in style in a helicopter which landed on Yate Common and despite torrential rain and hailstorms, groups of youngsters waved Union Jack flags to mark the first public Royal visit in Yate for 20 years.

On unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the Armadillo, the Prince joked with youngsters that a plaque was not the most exciting event and subsequently he received raptuous applause.

He then told a packed café: "This is a fantastic facility.

"I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in this project and has seen it through. It has taken a long, long time and I am delighted to see it come to fruition."

After meeting a host of local headteachers, dignitaries and representatives of companies which contributed to the café, the Prince was taken on a tour of the award-winning building by Andre Corway, 16, and Megan Davis, 15.

Andre, a pupil at Brimsham Green School, said: "He was a really nice genuine person.

"The Prince obviously thinks the café is a very good place otherwise he would not have come."

Megan, a student at Chipping Sodbury School, said: "It was fantastic. He was really interested in the place and asked us lots of questions.

"I was panicking a bit about what to say but I just answered all his questions."

The Prince then watched a hip hop dance display by the JP Dance Academy, made up of teenagers from Yate and Chipping Sodbury.

Dancer Megan Bond, 14, a pupil at Chipping Sodbury School, said: "It was our first ever performance and we were really nervous but it went well."

Prince Edward also enjoyed a music from Bristol band CB Sessions and a DJ set whilst meeting young people who regularly use the café.

Town councillor Tony Davis, who first spearheaded the idea of a youth café more than 10 years ago, told the Gazette: "This is a dream come true.

"It is a fantastic facility and I am sure the youngsters will value it and use it."

Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb said: "Having the Prince here has given this building that extra something special.

"Youngsters have been so excited about the visit and it is another sign that they matter, which is what I think this building is all about."

The £1.5million café is a joint venture between Yate Town Council and South Gloucestershire Council. SITA UK which provided funding for the DJ booth has pledged to match any further funding for more equipment, staff and workshops.

Cllr Chris Willmore, project board chairman, said: "This is a celebration.

"We have had the easy job of building it, now comes the tricky bit of turning this into a real place the community can all be proud of."