18 APRIL 1990 PRINCESS DIANA VISITS PRESTON DOCKLANDS AND ATTENDS THE ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS ANNUAL DRUG CONFERENCE

image Diana visited the Preston Docklands before spending time to campaign against drug abuse in the town.

Later that day, she attended an annual conference of the Association of Chief Police Officers at the Lancashire Constabulary at Hutton Hall for an anti-drug campaign to educate young people in resisting peer pressure.
image Actress Rita Sharples of Longton which is near Preston treasures memories of a scratched Princess who sacrificed her stockings and her brolly in her determination to meet her waiting fans that day in the crowd.

She said: “The first time I saw Diana was when she visited Preston Docks in April, 1990. I was just one of the crowd waiting for her to emerge from a building but there was a bed of roses separating the entrance from the crowd.

“We didn’t expect to get anywhere near her, but as soon as Diana spotted us she pushed her way through the prickly bushes, shredding her tights in the process, so that she could chat to us.
image “She was wearing a very smart plaid suit and court shoes – hardly the outfit to push through the undergrowth in!

“When I asked her if she was enjoying her trip to Preston and she beamed and said: ‘Oh yes. Thank you very much’.

“My mum was with me and wished her a safe journey home. Diana turned, looked her straight in the eye with an incredible piercing look, and thanked her warmly.
image “There were so many people clamouring for her attention but she was never offhand. She made sure you knew she had heard and appreciated what you had said.

“Diana looked amazing and had this wonderful honey-coloured skin.

“She was far more beautiful in the flesh than she appeared in photos or on TV – almost too good to be true.

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