A SURPRISE guest visited pupils at New Cumnock Primary School during their swimming lessons.

Prince Charles dropped by unannounced as the children enjoyed their regular session at Scotland’s only freshwater open-air pool.

P5 and P6 youngsters were at The Tamar Manoukian New Cumnock Outdoor Swimming Pool when he turned up for a chat with the pupils.

Danielle McNulty, a class teacher at the school, said: “We hadn’t shared with the fact that The Duke of Rothesay was coming. I said to my P5 class that there may be some important people there.

“They were delighted and thought it was an honour to speak to Charles. Having met important people previously — Tom Hunter presents The Hunter Award to one pupil from each class every year — they knew how to handle themselves.

“The pool is at the heart of our community. A lot of our kids spent the summer there last year. Rain, hail or shine, when the pool is in season, they are there after school.

“It’s wonderful and, having gone as a child myself to the previous building, the facility has improved dramatically.”

Staff at the pool are braced for a busy summer season having last year welcomed a record number of locals and tourists ? 14,500 ? in the period between mid-June, when refurbishment was completed, and December.

Charles’ charity, The Dumfries House Trust, carried out the upgrade which attracted 14,500 people to the pool and staff are braced for more of the same this year.