The Crucible Theatre has been going through refurbishments over the past couple of years, and it is now finally finished. The theatre is of course the home of the World Snooker Championships, and has been since 1977 when my great-uncle Mike Watterson had the idea to use The Crucible as the venue and took the championships there.
We arrived about 2 hours before the actual opening hoping to see Stephen Hendry, the 7-time world snooker champion, arrive as the special guest. However no one else was there, and this was how it stayed for the next hour. It wasnt until about half an hour before that the crowd began to gather.The rather small crowd was made up of a few people who had turned out at 2-30pm from the nearby Lyceum Theatre and a few elderley ladies who wanted to see a member of the Royal family.The crowd also included theatre staff and journalists but no Snooker fans as we could see.
When the Prince did arrive there was a fair crowd gathered. Prince Edward was very polite, he walked down the line of people greeting people and chatting to them.He stood right in front of me. He then unviled a plaque that was going to be put up in Tudor Square when it is completed.
After unveiling that plaque, Prince Edward went into the Crucible to unveil another plaque that would be put up in the theatre.
As soon as Prince Edward went inside The Crucible to meet the staff and Theatre directors the crowd disappeared as fast as it had gathered.Tudor Square was empty within ten minutes and as my Dad was taking a few final photos I asked him if he thought Stephen Hendry would be around.Literally as I was asking he walked out of the front door into a deserted Tudor Square.Never one to miss an opportunity I went up and asked if he would be kind enough to pose for a photograph with me.He was very polite smiling and saying “yes sure” and with no one around to spoil the picture he happily posed with me.
So seeing Prince Edward only inches in front of me and getting a picture with the legendary Stephen Hendry on the re opening of this great theatre was fantastic.Another great memory for me.