Prince Charles had a busy day on Friday as he toured South and West Wales. He visited Airborne Systems, a parachute factory in Llangeino; met students from Stebonheath Primary School in Carmarthenshire and workers at Prysmian Cables and Systems in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Whilst at Airborne Systems, he was shown from some of the 350 plus workers how the parachutes and systems they manufacture save lives the world over. They are supplied to the UK military and other military around the globe, allowing ejector seats to fall safely to earth; enabling goods and boats to be dropped from the air.
They also provide the braking parachutes for the Eurofighter Typhoon and the parachutes which help drop life rafts and other survival equipment in to the sea. Carried by the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers are ship-deployed floating countermeasures, which assist in deflecting mistles.
As a gift, the Prince was presented with a photograph of him with an Airborne parachute. The Prince met former apprentices and those in training. One of whom was 20-year-old Lauren browning, a third-year student of engineering. Her schooling is being sponsored by Airborne Systems. She will return to the company after completing her studies. She spends her holiday breaks working at the factory.
After speaking to the Prince, Miss Browning said: “I work in the electronic warfare department during the holidays. If people ask what my holiday job is I always say it’s secret. I have a lot of fun with that.”
Since His Royal Highness is passionate about preserving traditional skills, he also met those workers responsible for sewing the parachutes together. The workers told him they know how they have the lives of others literally in their hands.
“That’s why we do our job as well as we do,” said one worker.
The Prince next visited Prysmian Cables and Systems ltd, a cable manufacturing factory he opened 28 years ago. Its four plants around the UK manufacture energy cables and energy excessories for both high and low-voltage applications.
He was there to launch a new automated customer services centre. The Prince toured the worker’s factory. “We explained the actual process of cable making and he was very interested. It’s very surreal talking to him, seeing him here,” said one of the workers.
The first-in-line to the throne pressed the button to officially open the distribution centre where 170 people are employed. To commemorate the occasion, he unveiled a plaque, and made a short speech saying: “I just wanted to use this opportunity to congratulate you on the huge effort you’ve put in to the product here – the devotion and dedication, skill, and everything else that I know goes into this.
“It doesn’t happen by accident, and I know what a huge team exercise this is. Many congratulations to all of you. Nothing will give me greater pleasure than to unveil this plaque, given that I’ve had the delight at seeing the system work by pressing the button.”
The Prince’s final destination for the day saw him tour the outdoor glass room and garden area of Carmarthenshire primary school. His Royal Highness was truly impressed by the, “seriously big leaks,” grown by the students for Saint David’s Day, especially since the water used to care for them is recycled rainwater, which combats local flooding.
In partnership with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, this RainScape project was established to help the overburdened urban drainage systems by capturing, diverting and/or slowing the rate which rain water enters the sewage network. So far, the project has successfully collected over 100 liters of rainfall.
Along with the vegetable patch, there is also a swale – a shallow, vegetated channel specifically designed to store water. This reduces the risk of flooding and/or pollution from overburdened sewers after a heavy rainfall. It also helps with the improvement of local eco-systems by creating greener, more sustainable environments to live in.