‘Charming’, ‘natural’, ‘knowledgeable’ – just some of the words used to describe Prince Charles by those who met him at his second of two engagements in Boston today (Monday, March 19).
His Royal Highness paid a visit to Age UK Boston and South Holland, in High Street, Boston, this lunchtime, following on from a stop at the food-to-go and fresh produce business Freshtime, in Marsh Lane.
The whole thing seemed to go so fast. I’m a bit speechless really.
The Prince of Wales is a patron of Age UK and his visit to its offices in town gave him the chance to meet staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, and other organisations housed in the restored Georgian town house and its grounds, as well as members of the area’s Romanian community who had been invited to attend the event.
Some time was also spent with members of the public who had gathered opposite the building – William Garfit House – in the hope of seeing the first in line for the throne, with one calling out to him ‘if I knew you were coming I’d’ve baked a cake’ before shaking his hand and giving him a peck on the cheek.
There was also unscheduled visit to a convenience shop after the prince met its owner among those gathered.
Shop owner Erhan Akyuz said: “He wanted to look at our products. He was very friendly and chatty.”
The engagement was the third part of a five-leg tour of Lincolnshire, which began with a visit to Louth Livestock Market and would go on to include Tattershall Castle and the nearby Holy Trinity Church.
From schoolchildren under 10 to those old enough to remember the prince’s birth 70 years ago in November, there were warm words from those in attendance following their meeting with the future monarch who, before departing, wished them all ‘a nice Easter when it comes’ ...
* Barbara O’Neill, 63, community services officer for Age UK Boston and South Holland, and Anne Sharpe, 59, an information and advice officer for the charity.
Barbara described the prince as ‘charming’.
“I thought he was very gracious in that he took time with everybody. He didn’t rush. He had a word with everybody.”
Anne echoed this comment, impressed how even after two engagements that day the prince still seemed ‘as fresh as a daisy’.
“It was very nice. We didn’t know what to expect. He was very natural,” she said, adding: “He didn’t make you feel rushed at all.”
* Dee Sawer, 77, of Boston, and Janet Brown, 78, of Boston, who spoke to the prince about the knitting group they run at Age UK Boston and South Holland on Thursday afternoons, from 1.30-3pm.
Both praised the prince for the amount of time he gave to people and the interest he showed in them.
“He didn’t make you feel uncomfortable at all. He was very relaxed,” said Dee.
Janet said: “He wasn’t in any hurry, which was lovely.”
Dee described it as an ‘honour and a pleasure’ to meet the prince.
Janet said: “It’s something that will be lovely to remember.”
* Katy Roberts, 39, a financial inclusion manager for Boston Mayflower, and Jodie Bolderow, 34, a social housing trainee for the housing association.
From them, the prince heard about the work done at the site by Boston Mayflower to help tenants and members of the public find work and manage their finances.
Katy said: “It was a very good experience, we were a bit nervous about it all week, but it was nice and he seemed really interested in what we do.”
Jodie said: “The whole thing seemed to go so fast. I’m a bit speechless really.”
* Stu Davidson, 59, of Boston, of the community radio station Endeavour FM, which broadcasts from the site.
Stu had met the prince before, as a school boy in North Wales in 1970 shortly after His Royal Highness became the Prince of Wales.
He said it was ‘fantastic’ the meet him again and welcomed the opportunity to see the station brush shoulders with royalty.
“I don’t think he remembered me,” he said. “He certainly didn’t say ‘Stu, I haven’t seen you for ages!’.”
Robert Barclay, 33, of Boston, also from the station, said: “It was lovely for him to take time out of his schedule to drop into 107 Endeavour FM. He spoke highly of the volunteer commitment that the station operates on. He came across very friendly and knowledgeable.”
* Mia Maddison, nine, of Boston, from Carlton Road Academy, in Boston. She spoke to the prince about how the school’s gardening club had won an Age UK scarecrow competition, but also why her jumper was purple, rather than red like the other pupils present, explaining it was because she had a special role at the school which saw act as a mentor to younger children.
Of meeting the prince, she said: “It was good. It was exciting.”