MANY St Helens folk will join people of the UK and across the world in celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III on Saturday.

Thousands are expected to watch the ceremony in their homes and at parties and gatherings as Charles is crowned at Westminster Abbey.

The King has enjoyed a number of visits to St Helens during the years and, with the help of historian Stephen Wainwright and local newspaper archives, we've been looking back on some of the monarch's trips to the borough when he was a prince.

Despite it being freezing cold, Prince Charles received the warmest of welcomes when on February 28 1986 he made his first visit to St Helens. Hundreds of flag-waving schoolchildren greeted the 37-year-old at Shaw Street Station and some were allowed to chat to the prince.

St Helens Star: Prince Charles in the rain at Sutton Mill Dam (Image: Jim Lamb)Prince Charles in the rain at Sutton Mill Dam (Image: Jim Lamb)

The fortunate ones included a group from the New Street Community Centre's after-school playgroup who handed the Prince of Wales a bunch of daffodils in advance of St David's Day. Margaret Smith, leader of the Sutton group, said later: "The children were delighted. The prince was wonderful and he shook hands with most of the children."

Schoolchildren from Parish Primary of Charles Street and Holy Cross Primary in Alfred Street gave Charles a rousing reception at the station, with the latter school holding up a cheeky banner that read: "Hi Charlie, Where's Di?"

Eleven-year-old Claire Tyrrell of Holy Cross told reporters: "He was lovely, he shook hands with as many of us as he could. It was really exciting." And Charles also questioned 9-year-old Parish pupils Debbie Hill, Michelle Mather, Debbie Kennrick and Michelle Dawson about their school.

Thousands lined Church Street as the royal motorcade made its way to the offices of the St Helens Trust in Canal Street where a large crowd was waiting.

Thirty children from the Family Care Centre at the Elim Church in Atherton Street waved little union flags as Charles' blue Jaguar drove up and its royal passenger went on a walk about. However, three-year-old Matthew Wilcock from Grange Park was described as having been lost for words as the future king rubbed his cheek.

St Helens Star: Prince Charles at the Sutton Mill	Dam (Credit: Jim	Lamb)

Jeanette Myers, of Springfield Road, was one of the parents in attendance and later said: "The Prince asked us for the name of our playgroup and he praised our infinite patience. He also said he admired us for all our work."

Audrey Parr from Walmesley Drive in Rainford was also commended for braving the cold and Prince Charles told 63-year-old Phyllis Leonard from Moss Bank: "You could do with a few stiff whiskies to warm you up!"

Dorothy Kitto of Kendal Drive in Rainhill was impressed with Charles' height and good looks, telling reporters: "He's much taller and more handsome than I expected." And Arthur Biggs of Windleshaw Road declared the prince to be a "grand fellow".

The Prince of Wales was on Merseyside in his capacity as President of Business in the Community and he was meeting business owners that had received grants from his Prince's Trust.

St Helens Star: Prince Charles at Sutton Mill Dam (Image: Jim Lamb)Prince Charles at Sutton Mill Dam (Image: Jim Lamb)

One was St Helens sportswear designer Christine Tinsley who presented Charles with a white leotard decorated with red, green and blue palm trees. But it wasn't for him to wear but his wife, as Mrs Tinsley later explained: "The leotard is the first I have made in a new range. I have called it Diana because of Princess Diana's interest in dancing and aerobics."

The prince was making the first royal visit to St Helens since the Queen's Jubilee tour in 1977 and he also met Paul Bunyan and Brian Carney, the owners of Dead Fly Studios. The partners amused the future monarch by explaining that business in their Ravenhead Road base was so brisk that one band had hired their toilet as a rehearsal room. Paul told reporters: "He seemed like a decent enough bloke".

Others spoken to at length by the prince included 20-year-old hairdresser David Illidge of Shimmers salon in Knowsley Road; Chris Parker, the proprietor of engine tuning firm Supertune; Dot Starkey of printers Beverston; Dr Peter Loftus of Active Computer Systems of Haydock and 17-year-old Diane Maloney, the owner of a new delicatessen business.

After spending half-an-hour inside the Trust's offices, Charles exited the building but before being driven off he spent a few more minutes chatting to the waiting crowd. Spotting a group of women wearing white hats, the prince strolled over to them and said: "Can you tell me why you are wearing those silly white hats?"

The women explained that they all worked in Pilkington's Watson Street canteen and head chef Janette Kerskof of Clipsley Crescent in Haydock offered the prince a bacon butty. However, he declined the offer and with a smile and a wave was driven off to his next engagement in Halewood.

St Helens Star: Princes Charles meeting members of the St Helens Trust (Picture - St Helens Reporter and St Helens Archive Service)Princes Charles meeting members of the St Helens Trust (Picture - St Helens Reporter and St Helens Archive Service)

St Helens Star: Prince	Charles	meeting	members of	the	public outside the St Helens Trust in Canal Street (Credit: St	Helens	Reporter / St	Helens	Archive	Service)

The weather was again not great when Prince Charles made his second visit to St Helens on May 24 1988. There were cold winds and drizzling rain as the future king inspected the Sutton Mill Dam and the Gerards Lane Adventure Playground.

Both were seen as fine examples of what community action in partnership with the Groundwork Trust could do to improve the environment.

The Sutton Mill Dam Action Group had stopped the site off Mill Lane from being turned into a dumping ground for chemical waste and had fought for its conversion into a wildlife nature park.

And the Gerards Lane Playground had been a community initiative created after local residents had formed a Playground Association and leased the site from the St Helens Council.

Despite the rain a crowd of 200 onlookers turned up at the Mill Dam to see the Prince of Wales. "He is smashing" was the verdict of 12-year-old John Clare from Bideford Avenue after discussing football with Charles.

And four-year-old Catherine Bowles of Goodleigh Place in Sutton Leach handed the prince a frog! But it wasn't a real one, as the little girl had made it at Willow Tree Nursery School.

Among the crowd was keen photographer Jim Lamb who told me that the royal visit to the wildlife nature park that delighted many Suttoners did not go completely to plan: "Charles's visit started very well with him talking to everyone about the Dam and the local area. However, four 15-year-olds on the other side of the bridge began making a nuisance of themselves by throwing stones. At this point Charles made his way down to them and gave them a good ticking off and he sent them off onto the other side of the dam. A short time afterwards he made his way to his car.

However, he did stay thirty minutes in the rain."

When the prince arrived at the Gerards Lane Playground he found two hundred youngsters waiting to greet him with many having waited several hours.

Teresa Saunders of Eugene Avenue was so enamoured by Charles that she couldn’t resist giving the prince a huge kiss on his cheek, later telling reporters: "He's lovely. Much nicer than I imagined".

Some of the residents said they wished the prince had brought Diana with him but were surprised at his genuine interest in the playground.

Bernie Mayston, the chairman of the scheme's managing committee, summed up the day as "a dream, come true". And as Charles prepared to leave Sutton, four-year-old Karina Lyon handed him a bunch of Princess Margaret roses and received a kiss in return.

IN 2004 Prince Charles launched the centenary celebrations at one of St Helens best known family firms.

Greeted by the fitting strains of Food Glorious Food from the tuneful players of Haydock Brass Band, Prince Charles was escorted into the compact Bartons pickle factory on Lascelles Street for a 'hands on' demonstration on how the legendary St Helens delicacies are made... and you could tell how much he relished the 'cottage industry' atmosphere of Bartons in direct contrast to so many other multi-national conglomerates gobbling up the supermarket shelves.

St Helens Star: Prince Charles during a visit to Barton's Pickles in 2004 (Picture: PA)Prince Charles during a visit to Barton's Pickles in 2004 (Picture: PA)

St Helens Star: Britain's Prince of Wales addresses an audience during a visit to the Edmund Barton pickle company in St Helens, England. The Prince was visiting the factory during the launch of its centenary celebrations.

St Helens Star: Britain's Prince Charles tries a slice of bread with piccalilli during a visit to the Edmund Barton pickle company in St Helens, England. The Prince was visiting the factory during the launch of its centenary celebrations.

Joanna Jenner, the fourth generation of pickle makers to head the family firm, gave the prince a guided tour, during which he met several Bartons stalwarts who have worked for the company for many years, including ex-Saints winger Dennis Litherland.

The prince was shown the various stages of pickle production and helped mix up a huge tub of piccalilli.

He said wryly: "I enjoy any opportunity to stir things up a bit and stick my oar in," – a direct reference to his recent controversial statements about the English education system.

St Helens Star: Prince Charles steps out on to the street following his visit to Bartons PicklesPrince Charles steps out on to the street following his visit to Bartons Pickles

He added: "I believe in good old British Food and Bartons is jolly old British piccalilli.

"I congratulate them on a remarkable achievement and wish the company every success in the future.

"It's marvellous to see the loyalty and dedication of all the staff. It says so much about a company like this.

"For 100 years they have resisted the temptation to expand into larger premises, preferring to remain in the heart of the community."

Cheered on by pupils from Sutton Oak Primary School and Bleak Hill School, the prince chatted with residents of Lascelles Street, including 81 year-old Doris Potter who has lived just doors away from the factory all her life.

"I remember the days of Joanna's great granddad," she said. "I've been eating Bartons pickles all my life and remember when we used to get a twopenny bowl of piccalilli. My brother would go on a Saturday afternoon to get some, especially when we were having hotpot."

Among the crowd was Carl Dutton, whose interest in the visit was sparked by his 100 year-old great granddad William Harrison.

Carl said: "It's amazing to think that my great granddad is the same age as Bartons."

In 2013 PRINCE Charles was handed a tangy reminder of his last trip to St Helens, when he was presented with a hamper of Bartons Pickles as he visited another of the town’s success stories.

Remembering how the Prince expressed a fondness for piccalili when he visited Bartons Pickles in Parr on his last trip to St Helens in 2004, Mayor of St Helens Cllr Geoff Almond presented Charles with a a true taste of St Helens in the shape of a basket of Bartons' finest.

On a whistlestop tour to promote British manufacturing and engineering, he visited ATG Access on Haydock Industrial Estate.

Europe’s largest manufacturer of security bollards, traffic management systems and vehicle barriers, the company was exporting to more than 40 countries worldwide.

ATG Access has achieved export sales of more than £6m.

ATG provided equipment for a number of British Government buildings as well as Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.

It provided the security bollards for London 2012.