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Prince Harry: Colour Sergeant helped restore my confidence to look forward

Published 20/09/2016

Prince Harry is to visit three community projects during a trip to the Aberdeen area
Prince Harry is to visit three community projects during a trip to the Aberdeen area

Prince Harry has revealed his Colour Sergeant at Sandhurst helped him build his confidence as he spoke about losing his mother at a young age.

He was speaking at a youth mentor training event at Mackie Academy in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, part of The Diana Award set up in memory of his mother.

Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997 when Harry was only 12 years old.

Sitting in a circle with mentors and trainees, he said his Colour Sergeant from his 2005 entry to Sandhurst military academy was his mentor and credited him with giving him "confidence to look forward".

He said: "I was at a stage in my life when I was probably lacking a bit in guidance. I lost my mum when I was very young and suddenly I was surrounded by a huge number of men in the army.

"He was someone who teased me at the right moments and gave me the confidence to look forward, to actually have that confidence in yourself to know who you are and to push forward and try to help others."

He said he had not revealed the sergeant's name as "he wouldn't want me to".

Prince Harry, 32, met 60 youngsters who are training to become mentors in their schools.

He also met recipients of The Diana Award, including Jamie McIntosh, 17, from Edinburgh, who received the award for writing a book to help teenagers deal with grief after the death of his mother, Monica, to breast cancer.

He told the prince he decided to write the book after looking for help and finding nothing aimed at helping teenagers through loss.

Harry praised him for trying to help others deal with grief.

He said: "That's what's it all about, it's trying to stop other kids in your position having to go through what you had to go through and now your book is going to help everyone around you.

"If anybody around me ever has any grief, especially close family, you feel as though you can help because you've got the experience and that's what mentoring is all about."

The school was the first of three stops on his first official visit to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire on Tuesday, focusing on mentoring and the importance of sport as a means for helping youngsters to develop.

Harry later worked up a light sweat when he paid a visit to a youth sports initiative at Robert Gordon University (RGU).

The Streetsport scheme sees volunteers take free weekly sports and art sessions into communities within Aberdeen as a means of tackling anti-social behaviour.

The prince spent over an hour learning about the 10-year-old project - run in partnership with Sported and the Denis Law Legacy Trust - and could not resist having a go at some of the sports on offer.

The royal, dressed in a blue open-necked shirt with rolled-up sleeves and navy trousers, tried his hand at mini tennis, street hockey and a form of one-on-one football known as Panna KO.

His presence appeared popular with the schoolchildren gathered for the event, who cheered and high-fived the prince at the end of his visit.

Harry was also presented with a signed Denis Law Scotland football shirt upon his departure.

Harry's football opponent, volunteer Nordean Elouissi, said afterwards: "It was good fun, he's a good sport."

RGU principal Ferdinand Von Prondzynski said: "It's a really good day for the university but also for Aberdeen, because this is about creating a sense of community, particularly in less advantaged communities."

Prince Harry's final engagement in Aberdeen was a visit to Transition Extreme Sports.

He watched pupils from Walker Road Primary School in Torry showing off their skills on the high ropes, rock climbing walls and skatepark in the centre near Aberdeen beach.

Harry praised the centre and its supporters for their "interest and care" in helping youngsters transform their lives.

He said: "It shows that actually if you do put a little bit of effort in to them at a young age, that they will follow the right paths.

"You've got to give them opportunities, that's what it's all about."

Harry stepped in to help out one of the pupils himself, untangling her climbing harness.

Katie Nagamura, 11, said: "He just asked if I needed a hand so I said yes. It was a honour to meet him. It's not every day you get to meet a prince."

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