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Prince’s Walkabout Delights Dorset Care Home Residents

It’s not every day the heir to the throne is in the neighbourhood, so team members and residents at a Dorset care home made the most of their chance.

The Prince of Wales was opening a new playpark in his Duchy of Cornwall community at Poundbury, just across the road from Colten Care’s Castle View home.

Companionship Team leader Katja Williams was having her lunch when she heard from a resident’s son that the Royal visit was taking place.

She, colleague Sue Goodwin and several residents grabbed a clutch of Union Jacks and went over to view proceedings.

Katja then found herself in a prime spot for her very own Royal audience, with the Prince – in grey suit, blue tie and sunglasses – taking time to speak with her and ask about Castle View.

Katja said: “I stepped forward and as I did he reached out and shook my hand. I told him that we were from Castle View and he said, ‘Oh yes, I have been there before, a few years ago’.

“He was genuinely interested in the residents, asking how we all were. He said the trees outside our home were looking beautiful. He had apparently walked round the outside taking them all in.
Our residents were thrilled to see him.”

Asked how she felt afterwards, Katja said: “I couldn’t believe it actually happened. We were speaking just the two of us for a couple of minutes. I have no formal training in what makes a Royal greeting but he was very engaged and made it easy.”

Castle View residents spoke of their delight at seeing the Prince. Freda Cruickshank said:
“It was excellent that he came and such a special moment for all the children who may have met him at the play park.”

And for Jan Saunders, it brought back memories of meeting the Prince many years ago when he was visiting a friend’s farm near Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hillfort south of Dorchester.

Jan said: “I remember we had coffee. We were all in a group and spoke to him for over an hour. I sat on a carpet while other chairs where occupied. He was terribly shy. He was only 24 years old at the time.”