Belfast Telegraph

Oh boy! Prince Edward dresses to impress on visit to Boys' Brigade

By Claire Williamson

What a snazzy outfit.

All eyes were on the Earl of Wessex as he donned rather unusual attire while he inspected the new headquarters of the Boys' Brigade Northern Ireland (BBNI) just outside Hillsborough yesterday.

Sporting a hat not a million miles away from those worn by the boys in the Christian organisation, Prince Edward embarked on his second day of engagements in Northern Ireland.

The Boys' Brigade works with thousands of young people in the UK and Ireland each week, many of whom have no other connection with the church.

The Earl, the Queen's youngest son, was greeted on arrival by Brigade director Jonathan Gracey, and the Prince also met Duke of Edinburgh's Award key volunteers.

HRH then had an opportunity to view a number of camping and cooking demonstrations, as well as meet some of the award scheme's participants. The Earl then viewed the plans for the refurbishment of the building and met members involved with the project.

He also met a number of invited guests who have supported the acquisition of the centrally located building and the move from their former premises in Larne.

The Earl plays a very active role in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award both as a UK and International Trustee and as chairman of the International Council, the operating authority which controls the programme and standards in 140 countries.

The Boys' Brigade has played a significant role in introducing, promoting and overseeing The Duke of Edinburgh's Award within the BBNI for over 50 years, and in the past five years has supported more than 2,000 members to achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. The Prince presented Mr Gracey with the Boys' Brigade Northern Ireland Duke of Edinburgh's Award Operating Licence.

Before leaving, he signed the visitors' book and planted a tree to commemorate the visit. On Tuesday the grave of Ireland's patron saint was among the first ports of call during HRH's two-day trip to Northern Ireland.

The Earl visited Downpatrick, the medieval capital of Co Down, where St Patrick's remains are buried. He saw the granite stone that marks the burial spot and signed the visitors' book at Down Cathedral which stands on the site of a former Benedictine monastery built in 1183.

Belfast Telegraph


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