Camilla leads children in reading
The Duchess of Cornwall has helped show children that books are fun during a visit to Northern Ireland.
The avid reader joined celebrity chef Jenny Bristow to make oatmeal muffins for scores of excited four-year-olds at a library in Broughshane, Co Antrim. She is patron of a number of organisations which promote literacy throughout the UK.
Camilla helped bake some of the cakes, read a story to the children and took part in the "Goldilocks Rap", tapping her hands lightly against her knee as the youngsters sang along.
Libraries NI chief executive Irene Knox said: "It was a tremendous day for Broughshane Library and we are delighted that the Duchess emphasised the importance of books.
"She was very, very clear that reading and enjoying books is such an important skill for young children to have, so she was encouraging children to read and encouraging the adults here to bring their children to libraries and to get them to read books as something that they could enjoy. I think today was a day of fun and it was really showing that libraries and books are fun."
The Duchess joined the Prince of Wales for a factory visit in nearby Ballymena before continuing to the tiny village of Broughshane, three miles away, to celebrate National Book Start Week. She patronises the National Literacy Trust and BookTrust among other organisations.
Camilla enthusiastically greeted a crowd of well-wishers brandishing Union flags by the roadside and was led to a white marquee outside the library where Ms Bristow was already expertly digging her spoon into dough and encouraging children to add strawberries to a sticky porridge mixture in a large bowl.
The theme was Goldilocks and the Three Bears, part of which was read to the children by the Duchess from a seat in the centre of the open tent. Ms Bristow said: "There was also a bit of philosophy on life, if porridge does not work you turn it into something special."
Special-looking muffins duly emerged, welcomed by scores of girls and boys in bright blue jerseys grouped around nursery-sized tables and competing for room with multi-coloured drawings and writing materials. The Duchess, dressed in navy and white, stooped to admire their work.
Earlier, the Prince and Duchess toured the factory where new ultra-low carbon double-decker London buses are being built. Wrightbus in Ballymena is supplying 600 of the hybrid-engine vehicles to London in a contract worth more than £200 million. The firm has expanded massively in recent years and is known as one of the most innovative in Northern Ireland.