A father has said his late wife and son, who both died of cancer, would be ‘beaming with pride’ as the Duchess of Cornwall gave their Highland charity the royal seal of approval.
Camilla spoke with Sam Hey, who lost his eight-year-old son Hamish to cancer in 2017, during a visit to the town of Nairn in the north of Scotland.
With his wife Susan and daughter Lily, Mr Hey set up the Team Hamish charity to create play areas around their hometown in his memory, incorporating one his favourite things: rainbows.
Mrs Hey never got to see Hamish’s Splashpad completed, because she sadly lost her own battle with cancer last year.
During the visit Camilla also enjoyed a lighter moment when she chatted to a wellwisher dressed in a Stormtrooper outfit, complete with a kilt.
Camilla appeared in high spirits today as she visited a books and arts festival in Nairn during her trip to Scotland
The Duchess of Cornwall meets a Stormtrooper wearing a kilt during her engagement today
The two chatted while at the event, with the Stormtrooper wearing a blue and green kilt for the occasion
The Duchess of Cornwall, known as the Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland, with Sam Heys (left) at the opening of the Team Hamish Splashpad
But Mr Hey and Lily were delighted to welcome Camilla, who is known as the Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland, to the play area by the beach and explain more about their work.
Mr Hey was also presented with a BEM – awarded in the New Year’s Honours – by Lord Lieutenant of Nairnshire George Asher, while Lily accepted her mother’s one posthumously.
As the water within the splash pad erupted, much to the delight of the schoolchildren who had come to witness the event, Mr Hey thanked the community for backing Team Hamish’s journey.
He said: ‘It is so wonderful to see so many gathered for such a momentous, yet quite emotional occasion.’
He said that he knew his son and wife would be watching over the ceremony, ‘beaming with pride.’
After hearing of all the fundraising effort involved, the duchess said she was ‘impressed by the community’ she saw in Nairn.
She could be seen beaming as she spoke with members of the public at the Nairn Book and Arts Festival, including creative writing groups, a local book club and a poetry group
The royal cut an elegant figure in an emerald green midi dress which she paired with a trendy trench coat as she visited the Nairn Community Centre today
The royal looked relaxed as she arrived at the event, smiling as she greeted royal fans at the community centre
After the official ceremony, Camilla – who was wearing a dark green dress by Fiona Clare and a cream Burberry coat – took unscheduled time to talk to locals, joking with children from Rosebank Primary ‘have you managed to escape from school today?’
During her trip, Camilla – who is known for her love of literature – also visited Nairn Community Centre, currently home to the Nairn Book and Arts Festival.
While chatting to local poetry group Women in the Highlands she expressed her love for Carol Ann Duffy, and started a round of applause when one of the members read some of her own work entitled 2020 – The Year That.
She was met with laughs of agreement when she was finally able to remove her mask and exclaimed ‘we can all breathe again’.
At one stage while attending the charity event in Nairn, the royal could be seen chatting with a young mother and her daughter
Camilla looked in good spirits as she met members of the local community at the opening
The duchess also spoke to author Cal Flyn about her new book and was pleased to discover they had joint links to Stroma in Orkney.
She said: ‘My husband always paints Stroma, it inspires him.’
Camilla later visited Inverness, where she spoke to volunteers at Maggie’s Cancer support centre
Camilla has stood as president of Maggie’s since 2008 and made her inaugural visit to the centre.
Maggie’s chief executive Dame Laura Lee said: ‘It was wonderful to be able to welcome our president, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay to our Inverness centre today.
‘As our president, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay has been so supportive of Maggie’s over the years and during the coronavirus pandemic, she encouraged our staff and centre visitors with her visits.’
Several frontline workers stood outside Raigmore Hospital eager to catch a glimpse of the duchess.
To their delight, she gave them a wave as she stepped out of her car.
During her brief visit, she spent time visiting various areas of the centre, speaking with delighted member of staff as well as frontline workers and volunteers about their work with the charity.
Angeline MacLeod, assistant nurse manager for cancer services for NHS Highland, spoke with Camilla about the benefit cancer patients have as the organisation’s work in conjunction to support those facing a devastating diagnosis.
She said: ‘She asked a little about Maggie’s and how things work here. We were sure to mention how Maggie’s is so pivotal to people with a cancer diagnosis and families, how NHS Highland works very closely with Maggie’s and they provide time and support which is very difficult within the NHS.’
The Duchess also joined a Men’s Support Group by Zoom to hear how they have benefitted from digital support over the last 18 months.
Among the attendees was Matt, 56, from Culloden who is living with advanced lung and liver cancer.
He was first diagnosed in February 2018 and has relied heavily on the support of Maggie’s for the last three years.
The former Gordon Highlander also spoke to Camilla about how he broke down in tears after receiving a wonderful letter from the Duke of Rothesay, just weeks before his upcoming nuptials.
He said: ‘I received it two days ago and I was overwhelmed.
‘I nearly broke down in tears because things like that don’t really happen to people like me.’
The Duchess replied: ‘When I saw the brief I told him. I said I was going to speak to you and you were an ex Gordon Highlander and he said I must write a letter to him, plus he is getting married.
Camilla was swarmed by royal fans at the event in Nairn today, and could be seen chatting to crowds of people
Among those the Duchess spoke with was a slightly unconventional Stormtrooper wearing a kilt (pictured)
‘He is also very proud to be part of the Gordon Highlanders.’
She added: ‘I hope you had a wonderful wedding.’
Camilla and the Prince of Wales are carrying out engagements in Scotland this week.
Earlier this week, the Duchess attended a Women in Journalism mentoring session and panel discussion at Dumfries House in Ayrshire.
‘I’ve been reliably informed that in 2020, there were 700 female journalists working in Kabul. Today, there are fewer than 100,’ Camilla said.
‘With the loss of 600 voices, the experiences of countless Afghans will remain untold.’
She added: ‘All journalists who fight for truth and justice in the face of retribution deserve our thanks and admiration.
‘Let’s do all we can to support, promote and, crucially, listen to the brave female journalists of Afghanistan, whose work puts them in danger every single day.’
The duchess was joined by BBC journalist Yalda Hakim who received praised for conducting an interview with a Taliban spokesman when he called her phone while she was presenting live on air in the BBC studio.
Camilla said: ‘It’s been a particular pleasure to speak to Yalda Hakim, who recently interviewed a Taliban spokesman with such focus and composure.’
Founded by Eve Pollard 28 years ago, Women in Journalism is a not-for-profit organisation that provides guidance and support for its members.
Meanwhile she also visited the South Ayrshire Women’s Aid centre which offers information, advice, advocacy and safe refuge accommodation for women, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse.
Their refuge accommodation, first taken over in 1997, was built as communal facility.
But thanks to a massive team effort, it has been reconfigured as eight self-contained flats to allow the women – many with children – privacy and dignity.
Camilla and the Prince of Wales are carrying out engagements in Scotland this week (pictured, speaking with Lord-Lieutenant of Nairnshire, Mr George Asher on arrival at Nairn Community Centre)
The royal also spoke with staff from the environment charity, Green Hive, during her trip to the centre this morning
Speaking assuredly off the cuff – joking she would use ‘any excuse to take off my mask’ – Camilla said she wanted to congratulate them on the ‘brilliant’ work they had done.
‘I know how important these refuges are. I have seen quite a lot all over the country. But to see these separate accommodation, these flats….it’s the first time I have seen those.
‘And talking to some of the ladies here I know what a difference it makes to them to have a bit of privacy,’ she said.
‘Again I would like to ret-iterate what an incredible job you all do for violence against women. It is so important to have all of you on side. Others might take a lead from your book and do the same in other parts of the country. ‘
Once inside the centre, the royal opted for an elegant orange and purple patterned face mask (pictured)
Camilla opted for an elegant green dress for the occasion which featured trendy puff sleeves and a pussybow neckline
The duchess is all smiles after attending the opening of the Team Hamish Splashpad in Nairn
Camilla viewed one of the flats, which housed their first clients last month, and met with one woman, who cannot be named for her safety, with two young children who had fled appalling domestic abuse.
‘Thank you for talking to me,’ the duchess said. The young woman told her how much she appreciated the facilities.
‘How long can you stay here?’ Camilla asked. ‘A long as they can have me,’ she laughed.
‘They have eight flats here but there are probably a lot more need,’ Camilla replied. ‘I can understand the importance to you of having somewhere safe to go, but also somewhere that offers you privacy as well as support and advice.’
Source: Daily Mail Femail