A FORMER resident of Haydon Bridge has been presented with an award from the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William.

Nicola Faulks, who was born in Haydon Bridge and attended Queen Elizabeth High School, was awarded the Duke of Cambridge Scuba Prize for her work on the Gun Rocks Cannon site project.

The Gun Rocks Cannon site is close to the Farne Islands off the Northumberland Coast and Tyneside 114 British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) have been researching the area for decades.

The project concerns a mysterious Dutch vessel from the 18th century, whose name and story remain unknown.

Although nothing remains of the wooden vessel, there are 21 cannons spread across two sites. It’s thought the ship was carrying the cannons back to Holland for recycling, when it was blown off course and foundered on Gun Rocks.

Project leader Nicola received the award at Kensington Palace last week, along with team members Peta Knott and Simon Smith.

Nicola, who now lives in County Durham, said: “It was a really good day. I enjoyed it.

“I don’t get to go down to London very often and it was nice to meet Prince William.

“He was very well spoken, and incredibly tall – well compared to me! He was very friendly, and he spoke to us for about 10 to 15 minutes.”

The Duke of Cambridge Scuba Prize is awarded annually to a BSAC member, or group of members, for outstanding research in scuba diving.

The latest stage of the Gun Rocks Cannon Site project, which received the award, started in April, 2017. Kelp was cleared from the cannons and the site was remapped, while the centre of the site was photographed from the surface so other divers would be able to locate it more easily.

The group will continue to maintain the trail, while research is ongoing to finally discover the origin of the cannons and the name of the ship that brought them to the North-East coastline.