On Monday, The Princess Royal carried out a number of engagements in Wales, including a visit to the RNLI in Porthcawl, and HM Prison Parc in Bridgend.
Her Royal Highness first went to the Porthcawl RNLI, where she met the Chairman John Abraham, and lifeboat operations manager Phil Missen. She was also introduced to the members of the volunteer crew, who successfully saved 16 lives last year.
“From being named the busiest station in Wales to having a royal visitor, it really has been an exciting start to the year for Porthcawl RNLI,” said Mr Missen. “As volunteers the crew give up so very much of their time to help save lives at sea, especially as 2014 was so very busy. It fills our crew with a real sense of pride to know their efforts are appreciated and to be congratulated by a royal visitor was really quite something.”
The RNLI, or Royal National Lifeboat Institution, is a charity based in UK and Ireland that provides 24-hour lifeboat services and carries out rescue missions around the country. It was founded by Sir William Hillary in 1824, under the name ‘The National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck’. Since then, the RNLI has saved over 140,000 lives, and won more than 2,500 medals for bravery.
In addition to lifeboats, the RNLI has a lifeguard service, and also offers flood rescue and safety advice. Her Majesty The Queen is Patron of the RNLI.
The RNLI in Porthcawl, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was the busiest in Wales in 2014. The Princess also unveiled a commemorative plaque marking her visit and the 50th anniversary and re-founding of Porthcawl RNLI.
Later on, Princess Anne paid a visit to HM Parc Prison to see the work of Invisible Walls Wales, a project which works simultaneously with prisoners and their families to reduce the chances of re-offending by improving relationships within the family.
Janet Wallsgrove, the prison director, said: “It’s an exciting time at our prison and we were delighted to welcome the princess to meet our team and see the work that we’re doing first hand. The extension allows us to take the success of these specialist units to more prisoners and build on our achievements here at Parc.”
The Princess met with seven of the award-winning prison staff at Parc. Between them, they have won two consecutive awards from the Butler Trust for outstanding work with offenders. Before leaving, she unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of a new prison unit that was added as a part of the recent extension at HM Parc Prison.