Prince Charles in Wales: electric Aston Martins, flood clean-up & Marie Curie

The Prince of Wales undertook a number of engagements in Wales on Friday, with the themes of industry and hospice care.

Prince Charles began the day with a visit to the CAF train factory in Newport to meet employees and learn about the production process.

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CAF is a leader in the railway industry and offers a wide range of products including high-speed trains, regional and commuter trains, metros and trams. CAF employs more than 8,000 people in the design, manufacture and maintenance of subsystems for the global market, with production facilities in France, Spain, Mexica, USA, Brazil and now the UK. The UK facility will be running a graduate training scheme and apprenticeships in 2020.

Prince Charles, who is a big fan of trains, had the opportunity to board a partially completed train when learning more about the production. Charles officially opened the £32m invested facility during a reception for staff to celebrate.

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His Royal Highness’ next stop was the new Aston Martin Lagonda factory in Barry, to celebrate the opening of the new factory, meeting staff and apprentices.

Prince Charles arrived at the factory in his own Aston Martin DB6 which is powered by biodiesel made from a by-product of the cheese manufacturing process and wine unsuitable for human consumption.

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The Lagonda brand of Aston Martins will be the world’s first luxury electric vehicle, reducing carbon emissions. The Lagonda section of the company designs, creates and exports cars sold in 54 countries around the world.

The new £50 million factory in Barry has undergone a three-year transformation from a Royal Air Force base to the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and will create 1,000 highly skilled jobs for South Wales.

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Charles test drove Aston Martin’s new SUV and toured the factory floor, meeting engineers working at different stages of production, including seat installation and painting.

Hosting a reception to celebrate the opening of the factory, Charles also placed a wings badge on the front of the SUV DBX he test drove, which will be located in the reception area of the new facility.

A plaque was unveiled by Charles to commemorate his visit to the factory.

Prince Charles then visited the British Airways Maintenance Centre (BAMC)at Cardiff Airport to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company. The Centre was opened by Charles in July 1993, which now employs 550 local people in highly skilled engineering jobs.

His Royal Highness toured the site and met engineering working to maintain aircraft and make new products 25-40% more fuel efficient, including the Boeing 787-900 Charles was shown. The British Airways Sustainability Programme commits the company to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

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The Prince of Wales was introduced to a number of apprentices who work alongside the highly-skilled engineers on a 3-year programme. Charles unveiled a plaque to commemorate his visit to the Centre.

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In the afternoon, The Prince of Wales added a new engagement to his schedule to visit those affected by the recent flooding crisis in South Wales. The future King visited the town of Pontypridd to meet residents and those who helped with the rescue and support effort.

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Charles spent time at the Prince’s Café and KooKoo Madam boutique to meet with local business owners and view the flood damage. The Prince praised the cleaning-up efforts made by the local residents, emergency services and volunteers in the Municipal Building.

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It is estimated that 1,100 properties – both residential and commercial – have been affected in the area. 50 residents from Trivallis housing association hve required temporary accommodation due to their homes being damaged; it is estimated it will take eight months for them to return to their homes.

Last on the agenda was the Marie Curie Hospice in Cardiff; The Prince of Wales is Patron of Marie Curie and the visit was to celebrate the hospice’s 60th anniversary.

Charles met with staff and patients at the hospice, and learned about the fantastic care patients and their families were receiving. Maureen Russell, 97, enjoyed her visit from The Prince of Wales as they both laughed as he held her hand at her bedside.

The Prince of Wales took the time to sit with 97 year old Maureen and hold her hand at the Marie Curie Cardiff Hospice (Marie Curie)

He unveiled a plaque to commemorate his visit and cut a daffodil-themed cake, made by local Michelin-starred chef James Sommerin.

Prince Charles became the first person to sign the charity’s Great Big Daffodil, which starts its UK-wide tour in Wales next week. The Great Big Daffodil will give people the opportunity to share stories, memories, messages or tributes of someone special – both loved ones lost and those being cared for still. The Daffodil is a 7-foot-tall steel installation, which has been specially designed with paper books within its petals.

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