Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Royal walkabout warms village residents

The Prince of Wales meets Lindy Reid Secretary of the Ballyclare Historical Society during his visit to Ballyclare
The Duches of Cornwall meets fans during her visit to Ballyclare

The postmaster who has spent half a century serving the community of Glenarm last night described meeting the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as the “highlight” of his career.

The Prince and the Duchess spent several hours visiting the picturesque Co Antrim village yesterday, with William T Pullins playing host.

Mr Pullins, who is due to retire this year, said: “I’ve been here for 50 years and 28 years as postmaster. I took over from my father and I was born and bred in this building.

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“I was talking to Camilla more than Prince Charles and she was asking me about my charity work. I collect money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and she said I’m doing a great job. It was the highlight of my career.”

The arrival of the Royal couple in a black Bentley with six police motorcycle outriders was delayed by half an hour but that did not discourage local residents from braving the freezing temperatures to catch a glimpse of the pair. And the weather did not deter the Prince and the Duchess from strolling through the main street of the village meeting and chatting with local people.

Prince Charles, wearing a long tweed coat, and Camilla, dressed in a dark green coat with a brown checked scarf and knee-high black patent boots, delighted the crowd with their down-to-earth manner.

David Morrow, 9, and Stewart Morrow, 10, were both lucky enough to shake hands with the royal couple.

Speaking after the meeting, Andree Morrow, mother of Stewart, said: “Waiting out in the cold to see them was definitely worth it. They asked the boys why they weren’t in school and they explained that they took a half day so they could come and see them. We didn’t think this was something we would ever see again in our lifetime.”

David Robinson said: “The visit is great for Glenarm and it was worth the wait to meet them. I have to say I think they were both very down to earth.”

The couple also spent some time looking around a local jewellery workshop where owners Bill and Christina Steenson showed them a range of locally-produced gold and silver pieces.

When the Prince met The Priests

Gary Grattan joined the Royal couple and superstar clergy during an extra special day for the people of Ballyclare

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The Royals with singing priests Eugene O'Hagan, Martin O'Hagan and David Delargy in BallyclareThree singing priests, two Royals and an enthusiastic crowd made it a day to remember in Ballyclare yesterday.

On their second engagement of the day, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the east Antrim market town's Community Concerns centre where they had the opportunity to meet and hear a short musical piece performed by world-renowned singing group The Priests, whose debut album has sold over a million copies.

One of the trio, Fr Eugene O'Hagan, is the parish priest in Ballyclare and has been a director of the centre for the past four years.

“It's been a very special day. The Prince himself said some very kind words at the end about the music we have captured and wished us well for the future —and the Duchess likewise,” he said.

“They each got a signed copy of the album. It was certainly a pleasure for us and hopefully it'll be a pleasure for them as well,” he said. Several hundred people lined the road outside the centre to welcome the VIP visitors.

They responded by going on a prolonged walkabout, chatting and shaking hands with many in the crowd.

Ballyclare Community Concerns (BCC) now has purpose-built premises at Foundry House.

It helps statutory bodies and business and community organisations in the delivery of educational and social events.

The Royal guests visited the special needs unit and met a number of adults with learning difficulties.

They were then introduced to The Priests — the other two members are Fr Martin O'Hagan from Cushendun and Fr David Delargy from west Belfast.

Two local children who attend the Reactions Drama Group — Christy Grattan and Aimee Gilmour — presented the Royal couple with gifts.

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