Belfast Telegraph

Prince Charles shows skills as handyman in Tyrone

By Donna Deeney

Prince Charles helped put the finishing touches to a tiny wheelbarrow being constructed by member of the Gortin Men's Shed project during his brief stopover in the Tyrone village yesterday.

It seemed as if the entire 400-strong population of Gortin turned out to welcome the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall who sandwiched their visit to the Owenkillew Community Centre between two in Omagh.

The royal couple were shown a number of cross-community projects run by the community centre.

Among them was a horticultural centre where children from St Patrick's Primary and Gortin Controlled Primary School were more than delighted to show off their nature project.

Pupils Conor Devine and Zara Spense were excited to have met the royal couple.

Zara said: "We showed them the bugs and then I did a curtsy.

"My mummy showed me how to do it and Camilla said 'that was very good'."

Community officer Johnny Porter was delighted to have the cross-community work recognised.

He said: "We've been working hard for the past couple of years and have been building relations between both communities so it was great they came to show support for us.

"They saw the Shared Education projects which involved all the Catholic and Protestant schools and gardening programme which promotes health and wellbeing."

Under the tutelage of one of the members of the Men's Shed, Prince Charles, armed with an electric screwdriver, put the finishing touches to one of the wooden wheelbarrows made by the members, much to the amusement of the Duchess who kept well back until the task was completed.

A number of fledgling businesses from across Northern Ireland were showing the wares inside the community centre, including two based in Co Tyrone.

Among them was Ion Distillery, where master distiller Darren Nugent offered the Prince a taste of their handmade Golden Spiced Rum inspired by the notorious Irish pirate Gráinne Ní Mháille.

Orlagh McVeigh, who started up Harch, a company which makes bespoke wooden products, was delighted the royal couple spotted a wooden chopping board emblazoned with Harry and Meghan in celebration of the newlyweds.

Mrs McVeigh said: "Prince Charles asked about the wood we used and commented on the board we made for Harry and Meghan. Camilla even offered to take it back to Nottingham Cottage."

Later, locals who had waited patiently outside were not disappointed as the royal couple took time to shake hands, chat and pose patiently for countless selfies.

Belfast Telegraph

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