Home Royal NewsPrince Charles and Camilla From sheepskin slippers to fighting plastic pollution – The Prince of Wales’s day in Cornwall

From sheepskin slippers to fighting plastic pollution – The Prince of Wales’s day in Cornwall

by Dianne Dunn

On Friday, The Prince of Wales spent the day carrying out various interesting engagements in Newquay, Cornwall, much of which was centred around his passion for the environment.

In his capacity as patron for the Campaign for Wool, Prince Charles visited the Celtic Sheepskin and Co. Ltd. clothing brand to commemorate their 30th Anniversary in business. The company was established by Nick and Kath Whitworth and began as a small boot-making business.

While touring the factory, Charles met with various members of the company’s over 50 local staff members and viewed a number of the business’ hand crafted items.

In the beginning, the Whitworths actually taught themselves how to sew and, eventually, their product line grew to include a variety of sheepskin boots, slippers and an accessory line as well. To this day, every one of the Celtic Sheepskin products are still made by hand at the Newquay factory. Due to their immense international growth, the organisation earned The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2018 for International trade.

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Prince Charles is vehement in the promotion of using wool which he feels is “one of the most resilient, ecological and sustainable natural fibres in the world”.

In a time when many are concerned with sustainability, the Celtic Co. has believed in using only sustainable materials from the beginning and rely on wool, sheepskin and linen in the creation of their products. Knowing that it is often extremely difficult to find work in Cornwall during the winter months, the Whitworths’ business makes it a priority to employ local residents which in turn helps to maintain the authenticity of their products being made in Britain.

Next, it was the heir-to-the-throne’s chance to learn how to operate one of the pieces of machinery. Charles took a turn at cutting some sheepskin into shapes that would eventually be made into slippers. He followed the process from start to finish, watching some raw sheepskin be transformed into one of the company’s trademark items.

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Before his departure, The Prince of Wales attended a small reception, which included members from the Campaign for Wool as well as long term employees with the company and stakeholders in the business. At the reception, Charles unveiled a plaque to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Celtic Sheepskin and Co. Ltd.’s inception and was given the honour of cutting the celebratory cake.

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Next up on the Prince’s agenda was a trip to Skol Nansledan, to officially open the school and to participate in a workshop put on by the Surfers Against Sewage charity, with a reception afterwards.

Operated by the Aspire Academy Trust, Skol Nansledan first opened it’s 14 classroom school to students in September 2019 making it the first new-build free school in Cornwall. Initially created to be a single academy trust in 2010, Aspire Academy Trust has grown to include 28 primary academies throughout Cornwall that provide students with access to a higher standard of learning combined with a more enriched educational experience. Based on the STEAM curriculum, these academies use the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics to create an educational programme founded on the tenets of active discovery and experiential learning.

During his tour of the school, Charles enjoyed a bit of time meeting with the students and learning all about their different projects that they were working on. He was especially keen to hear the ideas from the Year 3 and 4 students on the best ways to deal with the enormous problem of plastic pollution.

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Outside in the school’s garden, The Queen’s eldest son formally opened the school by unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit. Additionally, two students from the school, Lottie and Harry presented him with a gift of some local honey and Earl Grey tea.

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In honour of their 30th anniversary as a charity, Surfers Against Sewage proudly announced that The Prince of Wales had taken on the role as patron to the charity, a perfect choice as he has been a long time advocate for protecting and cleaning our oceans.

Founded in 1990, the Surfers Against Sewage charity was established in Cornwall to help combat the widespread problem of sewage pollution that has overtaken the coastline of the UK. Their efforts and results are staggering: when they originally formed, only a quarter of the beaches in the UK would have been able to pass the minimum bathing water standards test but now unbelievably, over 98% of the beaches pass.

The charity works with over 100,000 volunteers throughout the UK and have created additional initiatives like Plastic Free Community movement and Plastic Free Schools which go a long way in helping to decrease plastics pollution. In 2020, Surfers Against Sewage will be launching a programme dedicated to marine conservation that will focus on tackling the problem of plastic pollution as well as climate change, habitat loss and water pollution.

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In celebration of the charity’s anniversary and the Prince becoming their new patron, Prince Charles was invited to sign a  commissioned wooden surfboard that had been specially created by Cornish craftsman James Otter.

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