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Prison, sheep and a pub: just a regular day for Prince Charles

As the new royal season kicks off this month, The Prince of Wales hit the ground running on Thursday with a busy day throughout Yorkshire. Today focussed on the many initiatives and groups that are near and dear to the royal’s heart.

The first stop on Prince Charles’s busy schedule was behind bars. The Prince paid a visit HMP Leeds in West Yorkshire. HMP Leeds is a Victorian prison built in 1847 that houses Category B male offenders in seven wings.

Mosaic’s ‘Through-the-Gates’ Programme, has been working in partnership with the prison for two years.

Their Mentoring Programme provides one-to-one mentoring support for young ex-offenders making the challenging transition from prison back to their communities.

Mosaic is part of Business in the Community, which was founded by Prince Charles in 2007.

After his visit to the prison, Charles switched gears to focus on a particular cause he has been extremely passionate about the past few years: the global wool industry.

Patron of Campaign for Wool, Charles toured Abraham Moon and Sons Ltd where he met with staff, customers and supporters of the Campaign for Wool.

Established in 1837, Abraham Moon and Sons Ltd turn raw wool into finished fabric all on its one site in Guiseley. Originallymeager owned by the Moon Family the Mill is now under John Walsh, whose great-grandfather bought the Moon Family shares and took control of the company in 1920.

He had the opportunity see the processes undertaken in the last fully vertical wool mill in England. He seemed to be very intrigued by the process as he walked though stopping to ask questions and inquire of the various steps.

Following the tour, Charles attended a Campaign for Wool reception.

In 2010, The Campaign for Wool was launched by The Prince of Wales after seeing the drop in global wool prices which resulted in meagre financial returns to sheep farmers for the annual wool clip. The goal was to bring together the global wool industry and garner support from leading brands, manufacturers and retailers.

In the last five years, it has managed to create the most global and widespread global awareness campaign that the wool industry has known in recent years.

First prison, then wool what was next for the heir to the throne? A visit to Wensleydale Creamery as part of The Prince’s Dairy Initiative and The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

Charles toured the Wensleydale Creamery and met farmers to discuss the economic role the creamery plays in the deeply rural area in which it is located.

The Wensleydale Creamery is the home of the famous Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese. It uses traditional methods to handcraft cheese to time-honoured recipes, using milk from local farms, as well as being innovative with the creation of new cheese recipes.

The creamery achieved European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in December 2013. The status differentiates its ‘Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese’ from other Wensleydale cheeses created in other counties around the UK. What this means is cheese-makers outside of the area can only call their cheese ‘Wensleydale’ not ‘Yorkshire Wensleydale.’

Launched in 2012, The Prince’s Dairy Initiative is a programme inspired Prince Charles’s concern about the future sustainability of UK dairy farming. The project strives to increase the resilience of the UK dairy supply chain by assisting in securing a viable future for farmers.

Wensleydale Creamery is a sponsor of the Prince’s Dairy Initiative. Farmers who supply to the creamery have profited from workshops, operated by the initiative that help them increase their business, grow their confidence and boost efficiencies to ensure their long-term sustainability. The Fund also finances an alumni programme that continues to encourage those who have taken part in the Dairy Initiative.

The busy day continued as Charles made a stop to meet with representatives from the Ure Salmon Trust to hear about their conservation work on the River Ure.

After the Second World War, the biodiversity of the North Yorkshire River was severely damaged by pollution which resulted in the breakdown of the commercial fishing industry. Since the 1980’s the quality of water has taken a dramatic turn and salmon numbers have increased.

The Ure Salmon Trust is an ecological and environmental scheme whose goal is for the river to reclaim its crown as one of England’s premier salmon fishing rivers.

After meeting with those from the Ure Salmon Trust, Charles went on to met with members of the Dale Pony Society participating in the Society’s Annual Autumn Ride.

Highly prized for their action and speed, The Dale Pony saw action in both world wars with the British Army. At the end of the second world war, though, very few ponies returned, and it was thought the breed reached its end.

For the past 60 years, the numbers have increased thanks to The Dales Pony Society. Funded in 1916, the Society looks after the concerns and welfare of the breed and works at improving the attributes of The Dales Pony.

As his busy day continued, Charles made a pub stop. Charles, who began Pub, is the Hub Initiative is keen on popping in to see pubs taking part in the scheme.

Thursday’s pub stop was The George & Dragon Inn, which was taken over by the local community. The pub is assisted as a cooperative by The Plunkett Foundation, which was established to help rural communities tackle the problems they face by working together through collective action.

During his visit, Charles took time to meet with residents and various community groups

In 2010, the community gathered together and saved The George and Dragon after it was closed for over two years. The closure hit the community hard economically as businesses relied on it to attract tourists. The group formed a cooperative and 152 members raised £224,000 through community shares to purchase the pub.

In December 2010, the community opened a small shop adjoining the pub and have since gone on to offer community allotments and an orchard. Five years later the pub has once again, become the heart of the community in this rural village.

Rounding out his busy day, Prince Charles made a visit to Helles Barracks. Charles is Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment.

There he visited the Parachute Regiment training company, including permanent staff from all four battalions and recruits undergoing training at the school of infantry training centre.

Next week, The Prince will be accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, as they attend the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication at Westminster Abbey. Charles is Patron of Battle of Britain Fighter Association.

The Duchess of Cornwall was scheduled to present medals and take the salute to mark the completion of Operation Gritrock on Thursday. Camilla, Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Medical Services had planned also to visit The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, RFA Argus to honour its 25 years of service.

Unfortunately, her engagements were cancelled today because of gastroenteritis. The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas presented the medals and read her planned speech. The Duchess has an event for Elephant Family; her late brother’s charity, but Clarence House has not confirmed if she will be able to attend.

Featured photo credit: The Commonwealth via Flickr

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