Home   News   Article

'It was like talking to a friend and the discussions flowed freely' HRH visit to Caithness Foodbank and meeting with community groups – Prince Charles makes personal donation to vital facility


By David G Scott

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.



The sun shone brightly in Wick on Friday afternoon for an official engagement by HRH the Duke of Rothesay (Prince Charles) to Caithness Foodbank in the former Carnegie Public Library.

Prince Charles met volunteers and supporters of the food bank to hear more about the vital support they provide to those in need and was introduced to a selection of community groups based in Caithness.

Welcoming committee for Prince Charles included, from left, Lady Thurso, Inspector Alasdair Goskirk, Jamie Stone MP and Lord Thurso. Picture: DGS
Welcoming committee for Prince Charles included, from left, Lady Thurso, Inspector Alasdair Goskirk, Jamie Stone MP and Lord Thurso. Picture: DGS
The welcoming committee consisted of Lord and Lady Thurso along with Inspector Alasdair Goskirk and local MP Jamie Stone. Picture: DGS
The welcoming committee consisted of Lord and Lady Thurso along with Inspector Alasdair Goskirk and local MP Jamie Stone. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, visited Caithness Foodbank on Friday afternoon and spoke to various community and volunteer groups. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, visited Caithness Foodbank on Friday afternoon and spoke to various community and volunteer groups. Picture: DGS
Pat and Grant Ramsay from Caithness Foodbank greeted HRH and showed him how the facility operates. Picture: DGS
Pat and Grant Ramsay from Caithness Foodbank greeted HRH and showed him how the facility operates. Picture: DGS
Lord and Lady Thurso were part of the welcoming committee for the royal visit on Friday afternoon. Picture: DGS
Lord and Lady Thurso were part of the welcoming committee for the royal visit on Friday afternoon. Picture: DGS

Grant Ramsay, chair of Caithness Foodbank, said after the visit: "We explained to him what the food bank was, when it was established and how 10 tons of food have been given to folk over the past year."

His wife Pat, who is a trustee and volunteer at the facility, added: "He was very personable to everybody and spent time with us all. He also gave us a very generous donation of things we were short of like oatcakes, shortbread, sugar and suchlike."

The prince had made a vital contribution to the food bank that included oatcakes, shortbread and sugar. Picture: DGS
The prince had made a vital contribution to the food bank that included oatcakes, shortbread and sugar. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, visited Caithness Foodbank on Friday afternoon and spoke to various community and volunteer groups. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, visited Caithness Foodbank on Friday afternoon and spoke to various community and volunteer groups. Picture: DGS
Prince Charles in conversation with Grant Ramsay from the food bank in Wick. Picture: DGS
Prince Charles in conversation with Grant Ramsay from the food bank in Wick. Picture: DGS
Some of the many types of baked beans available for users of the food bank. Picture: DGS
Some of the many types of baked beans available for users of the food bank. Picture: DGS
Garry Robertson, a volunteer at the food bank, guffaws as Prince Charles makes a light-hearted comment. Picture: DGS
Garry Robertson, a volunteer at the food bank, guffaws as Prince Charles makes a light-hearted comment. Picture: DGS
David Miller, a volunteer with Caithness Foodbank, said he was suprised how 'approachable the future King was'. Picture: DGS
David Miller, a volunteer with Caithness Foodbank, said he was suprised how 'approachable the future King was'. Picture: DGS

Mr and Mrs Ramsay agreed that the prince's contribution will add variety and diversity to their clients' food parcels. His Royal Highness was told that the development of food banks in Caithness was made possible by "strong local support" which provided both food stocks and finances, allowing them to flourish and grow.

Mr Ramsay said: "We are incredibly grateful to His Royal Highness for visiting Caithness Foodbank and recognising the incredible contribution of the volunteers in providing people with emergency food, as well as helping people through hardship to a place where they no longer need the food bank’s help.

"High profile visits such as this can help to shine a spotlight on the issues that are driving people to food banks and build public will to end the need for food banks in the UK."

In the reception room at Carnegie Library, Prince Charles was introduced to local volunteers and charity organisations to hear about the work they do to support their local community.
In the reception room at Carnegie Library, Prince Charles was introduced to local volunteers and charity organisations to hear about the work they do to support their local community.
The prince speaks with volunteers from the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland. Picture: DGS
The prince speaks with volunteers from the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland. Picture: DGS
Prince Charles in conversation with volunteers from Friends of Newtonhill Woodland. Picture: DGS
Prince Charles in conversation with volunteers from Friends of Newtonhill Woodland. Picture: DGS
The prince spoke to members of the Dunbeath and District Centre. Picture: DGS
The prince spoke to members of the Dunbeath and District Centre. Picture: DGS

The Lord Lieutenant of Caithness, Lord Thurso, introduced the prince to Mr and Mrs Grant and accompanied him on his tour of the building as he engaged with representatives from a variety of community organisations and voluntary groups. "It's been fabulous to show His Royal Highness how much community volunteering goes on in Caithness," said Lord Thurso. "He's been deeply impressed by the projects and particularly appreciates the heritage aspects."

Lord Thurso accompanied the prince on the visit. Picture: DGS
Lord Thurso accompanied the prince on the visit. Picture: DGS

Vice Lord Lieutenant of Caithness Willie Watt also accompanied HRH and his entourage around the Carnegie building where he met representatives of 17 other community groups from across Wick and east Caithness. ""I was there to greet His Royal Highness this afternoon when he arrived off the plane and was part of the team that helped pull together the reception event here. I was also part of the team organising the Pilot House and Healing Hub event earlier today," said Mr Watt.

John Bogle, left, and Edward Atkins from the Seafarers Memorial Group talk about the commemorative statue to be built at Braehead. Picture: DGS
John Bogle, left, and Edward Atkins from the Seafarers Memorial Group talk about the commemorative statue to be built at Braehead. Picture: DGS
HRH showed his jovial nature as he speaks to Edward Atkins, a retired fisherman and committee member on the Seafarers Memorial Group. John Bogle, from the group, is at left. Picture: DGS
HRH showed his jovial nature as he speaks to Edward Atkins, a retired fisherman and committee member on the Seafarers Memorial Group. John Bogle, from the group, is at left. Picture: DGS
HRH was shown this maquette of the seafarers' statue that is to be erected close to the Pilot House in Wick. Picture: DGS
HRH was shown this maquette of the seafarers' statue that is to be erected close to the Pilot House in Wick. Picture: DGS

"There's a lot of work to get all the details of the people involved with the various groups. It worked really well and His Royal Highness was very happy with the extent of the voluntary sector he met today – and that was only a part of it as we could only take a selection of groups from the east side of the county."

Mr Watt said that the weather was especially notable, with a particularly sunny afternoon after a number of gloomy overcast days earlier in the week. "His personable side shone through and he was easy to talk to – it was like talking to a friend and the discussions flowed freely. He's a very special guy and we're very lucky in that he spends quality time in Caithness every year."

Allan Farquhar from the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council said: "We were here today with a presentation of all the various projects that we have and the issues that we deal with through Highland Council. We do lots of thing from the gardens to the community markets, as well as helping with fuel poverty issues. The town's looking better thanks to the efforts of a load of volunteers."

HRH meets members of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and shares a laugh. Picture: DGS
HRH meets members of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and shares a laugh. Picture: DGS
HRH visited Caithness Foodbank on Friday afternoon and spoke to various community and volunteer groups. Picture: DGS
HRH visited Caithness Foodbank on Friday afternoon and spoke to various community and volunteer groups. Picture: DGS
The prince listens to a Wick Voices recording courtesy of Wick Society. Picture: DGS
The prince listens to a Wick Voices recording courtesy of Wick Society. Picture: DGS
Charlie Bain speaks to HRH and tells him about the John O'Groats Trail walking route. Picture: DGS.
Charlie Bain speaks to HRH and tells him about the John O'Groats Trail walking route. Picture: DGS.

During his visit he met representatives of Friends of Newtonhill Woodland, Wick Paths Group, Seafarers Memorial Group, John O'Groats Trail, Friends of the North Baths, Trinkie Heritage Preservation Group, Sinclair's Bay Community Council, Wick Flower Baskets Committee, Wick Gala Committee, Let's Tidy Up Lybster, Dunbeath and District Centre, Befriending Caithness, Latheronwheel and Latheron Improvement Group, Caithness Heart Support Group, the Wick Society (Wick Voices and Isabella Fortuna), the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and the League of Friends of Caithness General Hospital.

Nicola Miller, from the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland, talked to the prince about the difficulty of growing trees in Caithness. Picture: DGS
Nicola Miller, from the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland, talked to the prince about the difficulty of growing trees in Caithness. Picture: DGS
The prince in conversation with Daniel Macleod, operational growth manager with Dunbeath and District Centre. Picture: DGS
The prince in conversation with Daniel Macleod, operational growth manager with Dunbeath and District Centre. Picture: DGS
The prince shows his light-hearted side in a chat with Daniel Macleod, operational growth manager with Dunbeath and District Centre. Picture: DGS.
The prince shows his light-hearted side in a chat with Daniel Macleod, operational growth manager with Dunbeath and District Centre. Picture: DGS.
Prince Charles speaks with Joanna Coghill and Donald Harper from Wick Flower Baskets Committee. Picture: DGS. Picture: DGS
Prince Charles speaks with Joanna Coghill and Donald Harper from Wick Flower Baskets Committee. Picture: DGS. Picture: DGS
Chair of Wick Gala, Alex McDonald, said HRH was 'very impressed' with the effort that went on in the background to achieve a successful Gala Week. Picture: DGS
Chair of Wick Gala, Alex McDonald, said HRH was 'very impressed' with the effort that went on in the background to achieve a successful Gala Week. Picture: DGS

Margaret Sutherland chair of Dunbeath and District Centre said the day after the event: "HRH took special interest in our Jigsaw Project particularly the architecture and finishes suggesting the architect from the Prince’s Trust get in touch with us. Yesterday showcased the Voluntary Sector in Caithness and the wonderful projects and initiatives volunteers are involved in."

Local MP Jamie Stone said: "I think having Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, here today is something very special. He takes an interest in the far north and as an MP that means a very great deal to me indeed. I think I speak for everyone in the far north when I say we're very grateful."

Related article:

Prince Charles finds out about oxygen therapy as he officially opens Wick's Healing Hub

The well-kent crocodile from the former library was at the event too. Picture: DGS
The well-kent crocodile from the former library was at the event too. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles leaves the Carnegie building accompanied by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Caithness Willie Watt. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles leaves the Carnegie building accompanied by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Caithness Willie Watt. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles leaves the Carnegie building accompanied by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Caithness Willie Watt. Picture: DGS
HRH Prince Charles leaves the Carnegie building accompanied by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Caithness Willie Watt. Picture: DGS
A group of well-wishers wave at the prince as he leaves the food bank. Picture: DGS
A group of well-wishers wave at the prince as he leaves the food bank. Picture: DGS

Prince Charles spent over 90 minutes at the Carnegie building before exiting into bright sunshine and being greeted by well-wishers assembled outside on Sinclair Terrace.

HRH is staying at the Castle of Mey during his Caithness sojourn and will be attending the Mey Highland Games as its chieftain on Saturday, August 6.


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More