Meet and greet day in Cambridge for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall
PRINCE Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall spent a fruitful day in Cambridge yesterday meeting a host of people from many walks of life.
While the heir to the throne engaged with headteachers and Education Secretary Michael Gove at the Prince’s Teaching Institute’s (PTI) leadership day at Madingley Hall, the Duchess witnessed cutting- edge clinical trials aimed at improving quality of life for young diabetics carried out at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site.
She then saw former homeless people living at Emmaus Cambridge embracing their new lives at the Landbeach-based community.
Following roundtable discussions with headteachers from across the country at the Madingley home of Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education, the Prince of Wales gave an address to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the PTI – an organisation founded by the prince dedicated to re-invigorating teachers’ passions for their subjects.
In his speech, the prince spoke of the importance of “subject teaching” in schools and how self-esteem is vital to raising aspirations in both children and teachers.
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He said: “One of the key issues we have to face is how to raise self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.
“With so many young people the Prince’s Trust deal with you are finding low self-esteem, low motivation and low aspiration which has to be raised.
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“It is not rocket science how you do that. You can turn people around from being completely destroyed by prison, or drugs or about to commit suicide, or gangs.
“We have a whole army of people’s lives who been transformed.
“The point is I believe, you have to raise the level of self-esteem before they can access the real value of education whether it is academic or vocational.”
The prince highlighted the value of passionate teaching with an anecdote of how one teacher in a “difficult area” had taught her class Latin and Greek after promising to show them the origin of the names of spells in the Harry Potter books.
One of the teachers present was Cambridge’s Manor Community College’s assistant principal Paul Edwards.
The Arbury-based school was put in to special measures in 2004 but has since transformed to achieve Ofsted’s “good” rating.
Mr Edwards said his teachers had been involved in some of the PTI training as part of improving the school’s performance.
“What we are trying to do as a school is encourage our students to aspire to higher achievement,” he said.
Meanwhile dressed in a long cream jacket worn over a neutral-toned patterned dress and brown suede boots, the Duchess of Cornwall was greeted by staff and patients at the entrance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s treatment centre.
The Duchess was escorted to the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility on the fifth floor where clinical trials are conducted on young diabetics by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Among the young people who have taken part in ‘artificial pancreas’ trials conducted by Cambridge academic Dr Roman Hovorka was 21-year-old actor Jeremy Irvine, who starred in the blockbuster Warhorse.
Jeremy, who lives in Gamlingay, has been treated at Addenbrooke’s since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of six.
Having to endure eight injections a day to keep his blood sugar levels in check, Jeremy was fitted with an insulin pump at the age of 14 which monitors as well as delivers insulin when required.
The Duchess greeted Jeremy and told him how much she enjoyed Warhorse.
“I loved it and cried from beginning to end,” she said.
Jeremy said without research undertaken by JDRF to develop the insulin pump, he would not be enjoying the career he is now.
“Being on set there aren’t regular hours and it is not possible to take a lot of time out,” he said.
He added: “Children nowadays should never feel they can’t follow their ambition because of diabetes.”
As a patron of the Emmaus homeless charity, the Duchess was driven to the Emmaus Cambridge community which provides a home and work to street people to help them move on from homelessness.
The ‘companions’ - as residents are known - work full-time collecting and re-selling furniture.
The Duchess was shown around the community and met companion Alan Hann, 47, who has trained as a gardener since joining the community five years ago.
The Duchess saw Alan’s room where he and Jack Russell terrier Scooby and bearded dragon Warrior live.
He said afterwards: “I met her at Hampton Court Flower Show last year and she remembered me and shook my hand.
“I’ve changed a lot for the better living here as when I was living on the streets in London people did not care who I was.”
After trying her hand at pool with guidance from companion Lee Driver, the Duchess met the community’s house band Doris and the Dusters before buying two vintage linen hand towels from volunteer Angela Nightingale at the Emmaus Cambridge shop.