Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Kate praised by art charity chief

The Duchess helps Jaydn Proffitt, 7, with his painting at Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford

The Duchess of Cambridge has been praised for her "understanding of the arts" as she arrived at a school where painting and drawing are used to help children with behavioural problems.

Kate left the pupils elated after her visit to see how one of her charities was helping them cope with issues such as shyness and lack of confidence.

The royal also shared with the youngsters the name of her pet cocker spaniel puppy - Lupo - something which had remained a mystery since it was confirmed the Cambridges had a new addition to their family.

The duchess has been carrying out a number of high-profile visits to her favourite charities during the past few weeks, while her husband William has been away in the Falkland Islands working as an RAF search and rescue helicopter co-pilot.

The visit to Oxford was Kate's first as patron of The Art Room, an organisation which uses painting and drawing to help children with a range of behavioural problems.

Kate put on a denim apron emblazoned with her name "Miss Catherine" to join the youngsters for a messy art therapy session at Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford.

Lisa Hancock, manager of the primary school's art room, praised the duchess: "She seemed to have as much fun as the children and seemed very relaxed and in her element, I think. She had all the right language and was very calm and gentle."

Ms Hancock added that at the end of the session the duchess told the children how "fabulous" they were and praised their artwork.

During her time in the art therapy room Kate sat between two boys at a table covered in pots of paint, brushes and paper, and chatted to both of the youngsters as they busily worked away. At one point the duchess came to the aid of seven-year-old Mariam Olayinka who knocked over a pot of water sending the liquid cascading across the table and on to the floor during the session which lasted around an hour and 45 minutes.

The duchess also visited the Oxford Spires Academy, where The Art Room has another centre, used by the school's teenage pupils and those of two nearby primary schools. After a private lunch of sandwiches, crisps and fruit, Kate joined a round-table discussion about the training of staff at the centre and listened to the experiences of four Year Seven pupils who attend art therapy sessions.

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