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Harry lends a hand in Botswana tree-planting ceremony

The Duke of Sussex helped put a 10-metre tall sapling into the ground at the Chobe River.

The Duke of Sussex plants a tree at the Chobe Tree Reserve in Botswana (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Duke of Sussex plants a tree at the Chobe Tree Reserve in Botswana (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent in Kasane, Botswana

The Duke of Sussex shared the strain with a group of men to get a 10-metre tree into the ground as he took part in the ultimate planting ceremony.

Harry clearly enjoyed the challenge of helping to create a new forest habitat on the banks of Botswana’s Chobe River.

After decades of deforestation from locals gathering firewood and elephant activity, a conservation organisation working with locals is trying to create a nature and cultural park for the community.

The duke got stuck in trying to plant the tree and worked with a group of men to push it upright before packing it with soil.

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The Duke of Sussex lends a hand (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

When he saw the huge mound of earth that needed to go into the hole, he smiled and joked: “How long do we have?”

Harry later joined young schoolchildren planting mahogany trees, crouching down with one young child to help him pack the sandy soil around the tiny sapling and at the end he high-fived the youngster to celebrate.

When the duke first arrived he was hugged by his friend Dr Mike Chase, conservationist and founder of Elephant Without Borders, which is working with a local organisation to develop the site into a nature and cultural reserve.

The land was privately owned but has been pledged to the local community and Dr Chase’s organisation will manage it with the aim of creating a thriving riverbank forest.

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The planting of the giant Baobab tree comes after decades of deforestation in the region (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

After planting the large Baobab tree, Harry was the centre of a performance where he was feted and praised by a group of Sentebale Let Youth Lead advocates.

The youth leaders, from the duke’s Sentebale charity which supports young people living with HIV, recreated a confidence boosting activity from camps staged in Botswana to support youngsters with the virus.

Called super camper, children are praised to boost their confidence using singing and dancing.

Harry laughed as one young advocate gave a poem-style tribute to him.

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Harry also met local school children during the tree-planting ceremony (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

To smiles and laughter from dozens of young leaders, the young man said: “You make us feel like royalty.

“You left baby Archie and his mother to come and spend time with us, we appreciate you and love you.”

The duke then sat down with the young advocates to listen to issues they wanted to raise at a health centre in Kasane.

PA

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