29/06/2006

Earl of Wessex visits Northern Ireland

His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex has officially opened the new Chest, Heart and Stroke Association Headquarters in Belfast.

Prince Edward arrived at the Association's Dublin Road offices where he met a number of administrative and fund-raising staff who explained the range of services provided by the Association.

He then met with a number of patients who have suffered from respiratory, cardiac and stroke related illnesses before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the building.

The Earl of Wessex then attended a lunch hosted by the Friends of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme at the Kings Hall in Balmoral. During a pre-lunch reception, he was introduced to around 40 invited guests before attending a lunch in the Abercorn Suite hosted by Mr Colin McDonald Chief Executive of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.

Before departing Prince Edward took the opportunity to chat to a number of young people from the Church of Ireland’s Youth Council’s Summer Madness project who were preparing to camp on the site during Christian Fellowship Week.

He then proceeded to his third engagement at Belfast Activity Centre (BAC), where he has been a frequent visitor, having last visited in June 2005. The focus of the visit was to meet teams of young people involved in the 'Leaders of Tomorrow Challenge.'

Prince Edward watched a number of teams participate in a number of multi-activity challenges including, archery, climbing and a competition kayak challenge.

He then listened to a presentation about the work of the Activity Centre and had the opportunity to meet the Management Committee of BAC.

Bringing the visit to an end the Earl of Wessex went on to watch teams taking part in the final activity and meet the representatives of the Northern Ireland Outward Bound Association who sponsor the bursaries for the winners of the Challenge.

Dame Mary Peters, Trustee of Outward Bound UK was presenting the prizes to the winners of the Challenge.

(EF/SP)

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