The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began their two-day ‘mini-tour’ of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly this morning. Over the visit, William and Kate are focusing on mental health, a range of local charities, local businesses, and there will be a number of engagements with Duchy of Cornwall projects.
The highly-anticipated trip is William and Kate’s first official visit to the scenic part of South West England since their wedding. Speaking about the purpose of the visit, a spokesman for Kensington Palace said “they will learn more about the industries that operate in the isles, particularly the tourism industry and the Scilly flower trade, and hear from local people about their life and culture”.
The Cambridges spent today in Cornwall, kicking off their visit in Truro, Cornwall’s only city. The couple visited Truro Cathedral where they met civic dignitaries and cathedral representatives.
The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro was built between 1880 and 1910 to a Gothic Revival design by John Loughborough Pearson on the site of the parish church of St Mary. It is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom with three spires. Pearson’s design combines the Early English style with certain French characteristics, chiefly spires and rose windows. The Royal Maundy Service was held in the cathedral in 1994 when the Queen presented 134 Cornish people with the traditional Maundy money.
While there the Duke and Duchess also signed roof slates in support of the Truro Cathedral roof appeal. Sign-A-Slate offers those making a donation to the appeal the chance to sign or write a message on the back of one of the 60,000 new slates being used to re-slate the cathedral roof – one that will be in place, complete with those messages, for generations to come. There are three levels at which you can participate. For a donation of £5 you have the opportunity to sign or write on one-sixth of a shared slate. For a £25 donation an entire slate becomes your canvas, upon which you can write and draw. Lastly, for a £250 donation, you can enjoy an extra special VIP signing experience as you and up to three of your family and friends write on your slate at an invitation-only drinks reception.
The next two engagements of the day were embargoed for security reasons. The first of which saw the Cambridges visit Zebs, a Truro-based youth centre operated by Young People Cornwall.
Young People Cornwall have been successfully working with 11 to 25-year-olds for almost 40 years, encouraging thousands of young people to reach their potential. Set up in 1974 to help youth groups across the county, they’ve grown in size and scope since they started, but their ambition and drive stays the same. Describing their ethos: “We’re all about making waves. Giving young people a voice, building their confidence, boosting their creativity and opening doors to a brighter future – all in a way that works for them.”
Zebs credits its success to “giving young people the freedom to do what they want, when they want to. A safe, encouraging space to hang out with opportunities to explore and discover, young people feel comfortable and confident to grow and develop, ready to seek support and advice when they need it”. From creating music in the recording studio, to learning how to take better photos, these activities focus is on boosting creative opportunities for young people and inspiring them to see where they can take it. There are also regular information and support groups covering all the issues that affect young people, from open sessions to single-gender groups, to one-on-one advice and support.
William and Kate discussed taking time to work out the right career path. More from the Mail Online:
‘And while chatting to youngsters, Prince William opened up about how it took him an ‘awfully long time’ to know what he wanted to do in life. After they heard about a programme which helps young people build their CVs and encourages them in career opportunities, Kate asked: ‘Do any of you know what you would love to be? Do you have some aspirations?’ William, also 34, cut in: ‘It is totally cool not to have that by the way. It took me an awfully long time to work out what I wanted to be.’ Kate agreed: ‘It’s so difficult because there’s so much out there. It is hard, isn’t it, to pinpoint one thing. William is right. I found it difficult as well.’
From there, William and Kate visited a successful local business –Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm. The Duke and Duchess were there to help mark the company’s 30th anniversary.
The business is very much a family one. Kay and David launched Healeys Cyder Farm in 1986 after previously running an off-licence in Mevagissey (where they learnt how popular Cornish cyder is) and a small-holding near St Austell. There was no water or electricity when they moved in with Sam and Joe, their two very young sons, and the 150-year-old property was in a dreadful state. Undeterred, they set about planting orchards, renovating buildings and creating a visitor attraction that has since provided huge entertainment for millions of people in almost three decades. They’ve also turned their fruit into world-beating drinks, jams and juices, built Cornwall’s first distillery in 300 years and produce England’s oldest whiskey.
William and Kate toured the facility and met staff who work on the site. While they were trying apple juice, William joked: “Where’s the alcoholic stuff?”
Not one to miss a chance to have a bit of fun on this outing, Catherine pulled a pint of cider and handed it to William, who said: “I’ll fall over if I drink that.”
Next, William and Kate travelled to Newquay to visit two Duchy of Cornwall projects, the first of which is Nansledan, a 218-hectare site that will provide future business and housing for the local area.
Finally, the Duke and Duchess were given an introduction to the work of the Wave Project on Newquay’s Towan Beach, an organisation that uses surfing as a tool to reduce anxiety in children and improve their mental wellbeing.
The Wave Project has developed an award-winning intervention that uses local surfers to help young people reduce anxiety and improve their emotional health. New projects have been set up all over the UK, including in Wales, Scotland, and even inner-city London. All of these projects use the same methods employed on the original pilot scheme in Cornwall – getting local surfers to work with clients and teach them to surf. The sessions are delivered by a mix of paid staff and volunteer surf-mentors who work in partnership with established surf schools. Some of the surf mentors started out as clients themselves.
William and Catherine certainly seemed to enjoy the first day of their two day mini-tour. We’ll be back tomorrow with even more coverage.