Lift mishap disrupts royal visit
A royal visit went awry after a deputy mayoress failed to make the welcoming line-up because she got stuck in a lift.
Councillor Mary Fleet was representing Hartlepool's mayor when the Princess Royal was being shown round the local yacht club.
But she was unable to meet the princess on Tuesday afternoon when the overloaded lift broke down two to three feet from the ground floor.
The other occupants of the lift were able to clamber out of a small gap but Ms Fleet, who is a pensioner, felt unable to make it and stayed in the lift with her friend and consort until she could be freed.
Barry Hughes, commodore of the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club, said: "I think the Princess Royal might have been aware that a few people were a bit late to meet her.
"I think too many people had got into the lift and when it gets a bit overloaded it automatically switches off.
"It's a safety measure, and unfortunately the mayoress was a bit more affected by it than the others were."
Ms Fleet told the Northern Echo newspaper: "It was just my luck, the luck of the Fleets, to miss her."
The Princess Royal, who is President of the Royal Yachting Association, enjoyed the visit to the club which is encouraging young people and those with disabilities to get involved, the commodore said.
"She was very pleased with what we have done," he said.
Hartlepool's mayor, which is no longer an elected position, Stephen Akers-Belcher, was on holiday.