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Prince Charles and Camilla enjoy walkabout on County Tyrone visit

The couple went on a walkabout in Cookstown.

Image: PA

PRINCE CHARLES AND his wife Camilla enjoyed a musical performance and also visited a centre helping injured hedgehogs on a visit to County Tyrone today.

The couple watched trainees at the social enterprise Superstars Coffee Dock after their special performance of Greased Lightning from the film Grease.

Superstars provides training opportunities for people with learning difficulties in a cafe and bakery as well as clubs and activities, an initiative which started off with just one club almost 20 years ago.

Chairwoman and founder May McAvoy said they were delighted with the royal visit in recognition of their work and the volunteers who make it possible.

She described the royal couple as “absolutely lovely and so friendly”.

“The duchess helped to make an apple tart in the kitchen, and the prince helped with the gardening, and potting of plants,” she told the PA news agency.

“He was very interested to meet as many of our young people as possible which was lovely.

“We have a theatre group which meets on a Wednesday night in our local arts and cultural centre, and every June we put on a show and it’s a show which packs the place out like nothing else. They work at it all year and they just absolutely love it.”

Charles and Camilla became the first members of the royal family to visit Cookstown on, which boasts one of the longest high streets in Ireland.

Part of the more than a mile-long main street was cordoned off to traffic and lined with hundreds of schoolchildren waving British flags.

The royal couple went on a walkabout to meet well-wishers, as well as being introduced to local businesses people and community members.

Later the couple parted ways, with Charles touring seventeenth century Lissan House, where he met people involved in traditional crafts, artists and conservationists.

He also met two of the latest hedgehogs to be rescued by a local charity.

Hedgehogs

Andrea Cowan, who runs Loughgall Hedgehog Rescue, said Charles was very interested in what had happened to Jill and Felix and how they were being cared for.

She had been involved with rescues for several years but officially started the charity in a shed at the back of her house at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and has rescued 300-400 hedgehogs.

While she said they try to get as many back to the wild as possible, some, including Jill, are too badly injured. Jill was badly maimed by a strimmer, losing one leg completely and her sight.

Felix, who had lungworm and has now returned to his ideal weight, will be returned to the wild.

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“Jill needs constant care but she is still active and gets round her garden. The prince was very interested to hear about her, he is very interested in wildlife and hedgehogs because they are in such plight.

“He was very interested in what had happened to her, how it had happened and how she could be cared for.

“It was wonderful to talk to him because he was genuinely interested in anything to do with wildlife.”

Charles went on to mark Rural Support Northern Ireland’s 20th anniversary at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise. 

He met representatives and partners of The Prince’s Countryside Fund in Northern Ireland and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster before cutting a cake and unveiling a plaque to mark the anniversary.

Meanwhile Camilla visited a Women’s Aid refuge where she spoke to residents and joined a reception for staff and volunteers.

Charles and Camilla are at the start of a four-day visit to the island of Ireland, with the final two days to be spent in the Republic.

They are also due to travel to all the nations in the United Kingdom during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

About the author:

Press Association

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