November 29, 2000 13:41: Croydons pioneering new Tramlink system is to get the royal seal of approval next week when Prince Charles comes to see the system for himself.

The Prince of Wales is due to travel on the tram from Croydon to New Addington to learn about how the environmentally-friendly system works.

The busy day also includes a visit to the Fieldway council estate which is being supported by the Single Regeneration budget.

The Prince will visit the Wayside Centre to see adult education projects and schemes to divert youngsters from crime.

He then heads for Castle Hill Primary School to meet pupils involved in community work projects sponsored by local business.

The Princes schedule also includes a visit to the new immigration detention centre at Gatwick Airport, the South East Cancer Help Centre in Purley and Waddon Youth and Social Centre.

A Tramlink spokesman said: We are delighted he is coming and spending a short time on the trams.

We are lucky we are taking him up through a new cut and newly created area where the regeneration has been so successful.

His visit recognises the Tramlink system is environmentally friendly.

The South East Cancer Help Centre, which is also on the Princes itinerary, offers support groups and a range of complementary therapies for cancer patients.

Centre bosses believe his visit reflects his interest in the therapies they provide.

Chairman Eve Lister said: It is a great honour that he is visiting us and everybody is thrilled to bits he is coming.

We know he is interested in many of the complementary therapies that we offer, which many people dont know are available to cancer sufferers.

We hope his visit will generate publicity so that people interested in helping us with funds will get in contact because we have to raise all our own funding.

The last time Prince Charles came to Croydon was in 1994 when huge crowds greeted him at Surrey Street Market.

A Croydon Council spokesman said: It will be a great honour for Croydon to see Prince Charles return to the borough.

It will be a particular distinction for Fieldway in New Addington where the Prince will see how strong community spirit and effective use of partnership is helping to tackle unemployment and deprivation by raising educational standards.

Tramlink has already proved to be an extremely well used lifeline for the estate through its excellent public transport link into the town centre and beyond.

For what was once a relatively cut off area the trams are greatly assisting the regeneration activity.

The future king arriving at the terminus on a train displaying his own royal pennant will be an unforgettable and historic moment for the people of New Addington.