Prince William impresses crowds during visit to North East

Hundreds turn out to welcome Duke of Cambridge to North East

Royal Visit
Royal Visit

Waving their flags with pride, hundreds turned out to welcome Prince William as he visited the North East.

The Duke of Cambridge delighted young and old as he took time to talk to the crowds during his visits to Sunderland and South Shields yesterday.

In his role as patron, His Royal Highness first arrived in Sunderland to visit charity Centrepoint’s first purpose built accommodation for homeless young people.

During his time in the centre, he got his hands dirty as he helped to prepare a chicken curry and spoke to young people about the challenges they face as they try to rebuild their lives.

The Duke of Cambridge then visited South Shields, in South Tyneside, to officially open the new £16m Haven Point leisure centre in the town.

 

Arriving to cheers from the gathered crowds, Prince William then took his time to speak to those waiting eagerly for his arrival. He was even given a teddy bear by one member of the crowd for Prince George.

Mums Helen McKerill, Carol Donkin, Colleen Findlay and Alison Taylor all had the chance to shake hands with the future King and gave him a taste of what to expect before he entered the centre to watch their daughters, members of South Tyneside Swimming Club, swim for him.

Helen, 45, of South Shields, said: “He was telling us about baby George and how he had held him up to the mirror and he had been giggling at his reflection.

“He said he was really looking forward to seeing the swimming. It was brilliant to speak to him and he was so lovely, he shook all our hands.”

The Duke of Cambridge also took time to speak to schoolchildren stood outside, including pupils Scarlett Henderson and Niav Vass from Sea View Primary School, in South Shields, who said they were very excited to have met the future King.

The crowds were left very impressed by William’s kind and caring manner, shaking hands with all those he came across.

 

Sylvie Nichols, 68, of Gateshead, and Noreen Bradwell, 72, of South Shields, said the Duke was a natural.

While inside, he unveiled a plaque for the new centre and watched club members swimming.

He was also introduced to swimming champion Josef Craig MBE, who said meeting William had been one of his career highlights.

“It is on par with one of the greatest honours in my career, getting my MBE,” said Josef, 16, of Jarrow.

“I am a massive fan of the Royals and I respect everything the family do for our country and the world.”

Josef added: “We had a bit of banter about water polo. We ended up saying we should have a water polo match.

“He was just really, really lovely to talk to.”

William also met 30 winners of the Diana Award - set up in his mother’s memory to encourage young people to tackle social issues.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer