The Prince of Wales headed north of the border on Friday to visit Caithness. Among engagements he carried out on the day, Prince Charles headed to Wick to meet volunteers and patients at the Healing Hub Oxygen Therapy Centre.
The Duke of Rothesay, as Charles is known when in Scotland, was entrusted to cut a ribbon to officially mark the refurbishing of the centre he had launched more than 17 years ago.
However, the task proved to be more difficult than the heir to the throne had expected as he had to deal with a pair of blunt scissors.
The unexpected issue left one of his hosts with her mouth wide open as the Prince of Wales continued in his attempts to cut the red ribbon.
Despite the struggle, the Duke smiled, holding the piece of fabric with one hand and the scissors in the other.
After he finally managed to complete the task, he was reassured by members of the public and guests who exploded in an impromptu round of applause.
During his tour of the refurbished facility, Charles heard how the hub has been supporting people since he first opened it in 2005.
Those who are experiencing long Covid are among patients benefitting from the oxygen therapy offered at the hub.
Sharon Florence, who has been heading to the centre since she started suffering from long Covid, spoke about her conversation with Prince Charles after the end of the royal visit.
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She said: “I just explained to him why I was using it and how much it has helped me and that I had returned to work.
“He certainly seemed really interested in what I had to say.”
The hub’s barochamber, Charles heard, can help people who are experiencing a wide range of issues and diseases, including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, certain types of cancer and sports injuries.
The centre is currently counting approximately 50 users.
It is manned entirely by volunteers and runs thanks to the support of the local community and independent fundraising.
Prince Charles’s visit to relaunch the hub, which was previously known as The Old Man’s Rest and then The MS Therapy Centre, was long overdue, as works at the centre finished just before the first coronavirus lockdown was enforced.
While in Scotland, the Prince of Wales also visited Caithness food bank, based at Wick’s Carnegie Library.
This food bank was set up in 2014 by local churchgoers as well as members of communities in Thurso and Wick.
The evening prior to these visits, the heir to the throne had represented the Queen during the grand Opening Ceremony, sanctioning the beginning of the XXII Commonwealth Games.
This year’s tournament, taking place in Birmingham, saw Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arriving at the event aboard the prince’s Aston Martin, which famously runs on fuel made from wine and cheese waste.
During the ceremony, Prince Charles headed on stage to read the special Commonwealth Games message penned by his mother in October last year.
Her signed statement was sealed and put inside the Baton, which travelled for nine months across the 72 territories taking part in the Games before arriving in the Midlands.
Finally unveiling the content of the letter, Prince Charles pronounced the Queen‘s words, reading: “Over the past 294 days, it has carried not only my message to you, but also the shared hopes and dreams of each nation and territory through which it passed, as it made its way to Birmingham.
“Over the years, the coming together of so many for the ‘Friendly Games’ has created memorable shared experiences, established long standing relationships, and even created some friendly rivalries!
“But above all they remind us of our connection with one another, wherever we may be in the world, as part of the Commonwealth family of nations.”
Charles and Camilla were not the only members of the Firm at the ceremony, as they were accompanied by Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Prince Edward – the Vice Patron of the Games Foundation.