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British RoyalsThe Cambridges

Prince William visits Mansfield – the first senior royal to visit town since his mother Diana in 1985

Photo: Charlie Proctor/Royal Central

The Duke of Cambridge paid an unannounced visit to Nottinghamshire on Wednesday, stopping by the Tarmac’s National Skills and Safety Park and The Beacon Project.

William first visited the Tarmac National Skills and Safety Park in Nether Langwith to open the facilities and meet with staff and apprentices. He also got to test out the machinery, laying pavement and testing an asphalt paver.

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“It was an honour to welcome His Royal Highness to our new facility which is already helping people beginning a career in construction and those already established in the sector to develop new skills,” said Martin Riley, Tarmac’s Senior Vice President, in a media release on Tarmac’s official website.

“Major infrastructure programmes are the foundations on which the construction industry and its supply chain are built, providing exciting and rewarding career opportunities for people from all walks of life across the UK who can help shape the built environment of the future.”

William also met with business leaders across the UK to discuss ways to engage young people, through training and social activity.

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The Tarmac National Skills and Safety Park was opened to help “provide first-class, practical training for emerging industry talent – including apprentices, graduates and those retraining from other sectors,” according to the Tarmac website.

William then traveled to The Beacon Project in Mansfield to hear more about the facility and the people it helps.

This was the first visit to Mansfield by a senior royal since his mother Diana, then the Princess of Wales, visited the former mining town in 1985.

Founded in 2001, The Beacon Project is a day centre that helps the homeless and vulnerable population around Mansfield by providing “a welcoming and safe place where people can get a hot meal, clean clothes and access to toilet and shower facilities,” according to its website.

When the Project began, only five people utilised its services, but now over 50 are taken care of on a regular basis.

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William spoke to an ex-service member, Delroy Carr, who later said, “He’s a good man. He seems very genuine and really wants to help.”

The two chatted about Carr’s life and how The Beacon Project has helped him since becoming homeless two years ago.

Louisa Hillman, The Beacon Project’s director, told the Nottinghamshire News that “[William] is very, very passionate about moving people on, about getting people onto that next step of the ladder, which is really key to solving their long-term problems.

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“The fact that he’s passionate about that side of it is amazing, and I think there will now be some feedback from his team about how we can open up some opportunities and take this further.

“We need people at the top to understand what the real issues are, and it does help for him to come and speak to the service users first-hand.

“He will have taken in a lot. You could tell he was listening and they knew he was listening to them. It means a lot that he was really engaging with them.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.