Belfast Telegraph

Dromore school enjoys a 'fabulous day' after Camilla's visit

By Brett Campbell

The Duchess of Cornwall was greeted by 200 of Northern Ireland's best behaved schoolchildren enthusiastically waving Union flags as she officially opened their new building yesterday.

Camilla lavished praise on Dromore Central Primary School as she unveiled a plaque to commemorate the special day, following an extensive tour which saw her laugh and joke with many of the pupils.

"You seem to be able to do everything here," Camilla told a packed assembly.

"I go to lots of schools but Dromore Central Primary School has a wonderful atmosphere and the best behaved children.

"Maybe I'll come back one day and see an even bigger school."

The school, which originally opened in 1938 and was first attended by 100 pupils, has grown significantly since then and currently has an enrolment of 700 pupils. Camilla, a patron of several literacy charities and honorary judge of this year's BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition, was also at the school to encourage young people to read.

She presented a collection of books - including Paddington at the Palace, as well as Roald Dahl and AA Milne classics - as a gift for the library.

The royal visitor also talked to a group of P7 pupils who understood the pressures of being a literary judge.

The 50 pupils were one of 12 judging panels in the UK - and the only one in Northern Ireland - who helped choose the winners of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2017.

"It's quite difficult sometimes to judge," said the Duchess. "I have been judging stories for Chris Evans and it's very difficult."

Young Thomas Wilson agreed.

The 11-year-old said: "It was weird talking to her, but really fascinating.

"I told her that my favourite book is Middle School by James Patterson and she said they were good books.

"Then she told us that her grandchildren like to read David Walliams and Roald Dahl."

P7 teacher and Key Stage 2 literacy co-ordinator Lynne Barr was impressed by the Duchess' interaction with the group.

"She was very nice and she seemed genuinely interested in literacy and in the kids."

Moments later, after being introduced to young computer programmers, Camilla confessed her own struggle with computers.

Watching a group of children programme a robotic device from an iPad, she said: "They make it look so easy, they just pick it up and go. You certainly wouldn't be able to teach me, I know that."

Principal Linda Allen was relieved everything passed off smoothly and said yesterday was "a fabulous day - having the Duchess with us was tremendous".

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