Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland royal visit: Kate and Wills raise plenty of smiles as they share parenting experiences

 

By Gillian Halliday

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were keen to share their experiences of parenting with mums and dads as they visited a childcare facility in Co Antrim yesterday.

Jennifer Campbell, who heads the St Joseph's SureStart in the Dunclug area of Ballymena, said yesterday's royal visit had been a resounding success with parents and children alike.

William and Kate waved to cheering onlookers who had gathered at St Joseph's SureStart centre in the Dunclug area as they arrived for their final stop of their two-day Northern Ireland trip.

They were officially welcomed to what was their final engagement by the Vice Lord Lieutenant for Co Antrim, Richard Reade.

Inside the SureStart centre, which is run by the charity Action for Children, William and Kate got hands-on with play activities during a session for toddlers, before later meeting with a group for fathers.

The programme, which encourages fathers and male carers to engage in early learning experiences with their children, is one of a number of initiatives offered by SureStart.

Steve Kane, a volunteer who runs the dads' group, said it was fantastic the organisation had received a visit from the prince and his wife, who are parents to George, Charlotte and Louis.

"It's nice that SureStart and Action for Children is getting such great recognition," he said.

Ms Campbell said it had been a "fantastic visit" which had left "a lot of happy faces".

She said: "It went as well as we hoped it would do;the Duke and Duchess were very engaged, there were fantastic interactions between our guests and the families, a great celebration of what we do here at SureStart.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Duchess of Cambridge is pictured with the Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
BALLYMENA, NORTHERN IRELAND - FEBRUARY 28: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge receives daffodils during a visit to St Josephs SureStart Facility on February 28, 2019 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Prince William last visited Belfast in October 2017 without his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who was then pregnant with the couple's third child. This time they concentrate on the young people of Northern Ireland. Their engagements include a visit to Windsor Park Stadium, home of the Irish Football Association, activities at the Roscor Youth Village in Fermanagh, a party at the Belfast Empire Hall, Cinemagic -a charity that uses film, television and digital technologies to inspire young people and finally dropping in on a SureStart early years programme. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge receives daffodils during a visit to St Josephs SureStart Facility on February 28, 2019 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ballymena Town Hall on Thursday during a walk about on the second day of a visit to Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ballymena Town Hall on Thursday during a walk about on the second day of a visit to Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ballymena Town Hall on Thursday during a walk about on the second day of a visit to Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ballymena Town Hall on Thursday during a walk about on the second day of a visit to Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Duchess of Cambridge is pictured with Mayor Lindsay Millar and Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Duchess of Cambridge is pictured with Mayor Lindsay Millar and Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Ballymena Town Hall on Thursday during a walk about on the second day of a visit to Northern Ireland. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to the Braids Arts Centre in Ballymena to see the workings of the CineMagic charity as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 28, 2019.
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday February 28, 2019.
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the SureStart Facility in Ballymena as part of their two day visit to Northern Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Duke of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Duke of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a visit to the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a visit to the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Aaron Chown/PA Wire
The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge visit the Braid Centre, Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
The Duke of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a walkabout outside the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena as part of their two day tour to Northern Ireland. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken
TRH Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet police officers and staff at Hillsborough Castle today. Photo by Aaron McCracken

"A key part of all their conversations today was about being parents, about the parenting journey and the support we all need on that parenting journey."

Parent Jennifer McCullough (31), who was with her son Jonah, wholeheartedly agreed.

"He asked Jonah about the dinosaurs and about their different names, saying that George loves them too," she said.

"William was very down to earth, interested about learning about SureStart and how the programme has impacted on us."

Mother Sinead McLaughlin (38), who comes to the centre with her sons Oisin (2), and eight-month-old Daragh, said she really felt William and Kate could empathise with her as parents.

"They're a very lovely couple, just down to earth," she said.

"You could tell they understood the demands of parenting, with them having three children of their own, and they listened to our stories."

Earlier yesterday, the royal couple met with young people involved with Cinemagic, an educational charity for young film-makers, at the town's Braid Centre.

There they were welcomed by Cinemagic CEO Joan Keatings, the international executive of the charity, Shauna Shivers McAtamney, and Michael Lennox, a Cinemagic alumnus who is director of Derry Girls and a Bafta winner.

The royal couple spoke to Emma Noble and Jack Francis, who played them a short film they recently made, and Kate was given a lesson for onscreen make-up looks.

The couple also watched budding young directors and producers as they practised shooting a film, before chatting to the Cinemagic members as they demonstrated the software used to help create programmes and films.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to St Joseph’s SureStart facility in Ballymena
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to St Joseph’s SureStart facility in Ballymena
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to St Joseph’s SureStart facility in Ballymena
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to St Joseph’s SureStart facility in Ballymena
Jennifer McCullough and son Jonah
Sinead McLaughlin and children Oisin and Daragh
Jennifer Campbell
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to St Joseph’s SureStart facility in Ballymena

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