Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Queen visits injured police officers

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited a centre for injured and retired police officers today.

They toured the site near Holywood, Co Down, in Northern Ireland, for nearly an hour, inspecting physiotherapy facilities and business start-up courses for former members of the security services.

The Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust (PRRT) is celebrating its tenth year of helping officers get back into the job market.

The Duke met "Ted", a retired officer, 79, receiving therapy with needles in his back and wrist.

"All that pushing and pulling, bloody agony," the Duke said, gesticulating with his arms.

"It is hard to say whether physios actually do anything."

The policeman was topless but in a blanket.

The Duke added: "I hope you don't get pneumonia in the process."

The Queen spoke to clients who attended a business start-up course in the training suite.

She asked "Ricky" what sort of farming he did.

"Mainly beef but I also have chickens and want to get into eggs, fruit, things like that, probably try to get into local industry, that is the plan anyway," he responded.

The Queen said: "That's optimistic."

The visit began at about 11.30am when the Royal couple were met by the Lord Lieutenant of Co Down William Hall, complete with sword and black and red uniform.

They arrived in a black Range Rover, part of a cavalcade of cars and police outriders.

The Duke stumbled slightly as he climbed steps to the centre. They were accompanied by Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward and his wife Camilla.

The Queen wore a grey checked outfit and hat.

The visit ended with a reception for about 65 people.

The royal couple were presented with a Tyrone Crystal rose bowl, unveiled a plaque marking the occasion and signed the visitors' book.

Chairman of the trust's board Sheamus Hamill presented the bowl.

"For ten years we have been assisting retired police officers and those planning to leave the police service to recognise their employment potential, upskill and to regain their self-confidence in the job market and to provide the clinical treatment required to allow clients to enjoy the optimum physical and psychological wellbeing in their chosen lifestyle," he said.

"Today was indeed recognition of the hard work of the trust, its board of directors, the senior management team and the staff."

Trust chief executive Eddie Gaw said the Duke was impressed with their services.

"His Royal Highness was also interested in how the organisation has moved ever so slightly beyond policing," he added.

Phyllis Carrothers, chairwoman of the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Widows' Association, said: "It is a wonderful recognition of the services that the PRRT provide to the police family and the wider police family.

Jenny Brown, business development manager at the PRRT, said the Queen was keen to learn of the organisation's work. "She was interested in what we were doing," she said.

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