Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

William and Kate show they have a head for heights

Published 20/11/2015

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried out a number of engagements focused on the causes and consequences of mental health problems recently
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried out a number of engagements focused on the causes and consequences of mental health problems recently

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge proved they are not afraid of heights after harnessing up and abseiling down a 12 metre wall.

The Royal couple grinned at each other before taking the plunge whilst on a visit to an outdoor activity centre in North Wales.

Dressed in waterproof jackets and walking boots, the Cambridges showed off their daring yet competitive sides as they descended backwards down the wall.

William went first - the operation overseen by his wife who asked him: "William, how much do you love me?" as she took hold of the ropes before lowering him down.

She was to tell the schoolchildren who had been on an activity day at The Towers Residential Outdoor Education Centre, to "stand and watch" as her husband made the descent.

She went on to declare: "I'm quite enjoying this actually, for once I'm in control" as the future King eased his way down.

Dressed in a black polo neck and black skinny jeans, Kate still managed to look elegant and laughed as she was asked by one team member "is the insurance good?"

The Cambridges had been in North Wales for a day of engagements highlighting charity work focusing on young people's mental wellbeing.

The couple had visited The Towers in Snowdonia where they met children from Holyhead High School, who having worked with Ynys Mon and Gwynedd Mind, had all undertaken anti-stigma and discrimination training in order to increase their awareness of how to address mental health problems among their peers.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales, of which the Duke is patron, oversaw the outdoor activities and William took time to catch up with his peers.

Kate, having been dubbed "a natural" as she abseiled down, told her husband she had enjoyed the activity - despite pulling a worried face at the schoolchildren.

National chairman of Mountain Rescue England and Wales, Mike France said: "Catherine said, 'not that we are competitive but if he does that I'm going to have to do that', and she did."

He added that it had been an "absolutely brilliant day" and hoped it would encourage people to donate to the charity.

"To have the Duke and Duchess in our red jackets - that puts the money in the tins and puts money in collection boxes."

Instructor at The Towers, which is run by Wolverhampton City Council, Phil Blain, 64, said: "If that's Kate's first abseil, she did fantastic and that was probably the first time she has held the life of the heir to the throne - and her husband in her hands.

"William tried the more difficult climb (back up). First he did quite well but sadly he slipped off almost half way up because it was very wet. He was on a rope so it was fine."

During the visit, the Cambridges saw how the young people had gained the knowledge and confidence to talk openly about mental health and to challenge stigma and discrimination.

The couple said they were delighted to be returning to North Wales after a number of years spent living in Anglesey when William worked as a RAF Search and Rescue pilot.

Kate told the crowds she had "loved" living in Wales and being in the mountains.

In recent weeks they have carried out a number of engagements which have focused on the causes and consequences of mental health problems.

Hundreds of well-wishers greeted their arrival in the royal town of Caernarfon with the floating of giant bubbles in Castle Square particularly catching William's eye.

He told welcoming dignitaries: "I'm particularly impressed with the giant bubbles. George would be absolutely obsessed by that.

"I will have to get one of those for Christmas."

The Royal couple visited a photography project run by the local Mind organisation. The project has been designed to give young people a voice to talk about their experiences and challenges of living with mental health problems. They also visited GISDA in Caernarfon - a charity that provides support and accommodation for homeless young people in the area.

The Cambridges rounded off their tour of North Wales with a visit to the Vale of Clwyd Mind Men's Shed project in Denbigh.

The movement aims to provide a friendly, inclusive environment in which men join to socialise and undertake a range of practical skills.

It has been widely acknowledged as playing a crucial role in maintaining the mental health and wellbeing of a potentially vulnerable section of the population.

The Denbigh Men's Shed group was established in September 2014 and now has about 65 members aged 30 to 93.

William and Kate were guided through a series of the group's regular activities including a woodwork session and work on a new sensory garden plot.

They met Alan Maddocks, 71, on the wood lathe, with William telling him it was "amazing" that the widower, whose wife had died this year, had learned to use it so quickly as he displayed his work.

Mr Maddocks said: "I was staring at the walls in bereavement when I was told I needed to come to the Men's Shed and I haven't looked back since."

He later presented William with a wooden gavel and gave a wooden bowl to Kate as he joked with her: "Don't get in too hot too quick, you know what I mean?"

Members of the Rhyl-based music and performance therapy group, Musical Meatballs in Mind, later sang a rendition of Mad World by Tears for Fears for the royal couple.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, concluded the visit with thanks to the Cambridges for recognising the "incredible work" carried out across North Wales to help and empower people who experience mental health problems.

He said: "We know your support and continuous support over the last few months has really raised that profile on this important issue.

"Tragically we know that in Wales we have the highest rate of suicide and self harm of young people.

"We know that many people reach the point where they feel totally alone in terms of what they are going through.

"Our work here is to really ensure that we can empower and enable people who experience mental health problems to get the support and the respect that they so desperately need and deserve."

Turning to Mind's work with the Men's Shed movement, he said: "Every day in the UK, sadly 13 men take their own lives and we know that this tragically is a result of so many people finding it impossible to ask for help or being told unhelpfully to kind of man up and tough it out.

"But here we have seen the power of friendship, the power of shared understanding and the power of being able to bring people together to spend time with each other. To give them the confidence and to build the self esteem to be able to come out and talk more openly about how things are.

"I think that connects to the theme of today - that therapeutic power of creativity, the power of art and photography and the power of using physical activities to improve your mental health."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph