Charles sees Cumbria bouncing back from Storm Desmond floods


The Prince of Wales has returned to Cumbria three months after the devastating floods which ravaged large parts of the country.

Charles visited in the wake of Storm Desmond and on Wednesday returned to see the ongoing recovery as the region bounces back with the message that Cumbria, which receives millions of visitors every year, is very much open for business.

On the first engagement of a five-visit tour, he met students at Ullswater Community College in Penrith, which serves the largest catchment area in England.

Pupils aged 14 to 18 are able to take advantage of a range of vocational training opportunities at the school, which has developed a close relationship with The Prince's Teaching Institute.

Since 2010 students have honed their skills with a choice of specialist facilities including a motor engineering garage, a hair and beauty salon and workshops for plumbing, joinery and bricklaying.

Local firms and organisations have also provided stone for a dry stone walling course, vintage tractors for an agricultural engineering course and building materials for a construction course.

Charles was given a guided tour of the college's Applied Learning Centre by headteacher Nigel Pattinson before he was treated to a display by the college's award-winning UCC Wolves cheerleading team and a performance of Joseph And The Technicolour Dreamcoat by its music and drama group.

The Prince was particularly impressed with the energetic performance of the cheerleaders.

After he unveiled a plaque to mark his visit, he said: "It's been a great privilege just to have this brief glimpse of the school.

"I am so impressed to see all your vocational training opportunities and the huge difference I am sure that must make in the long run in providing people with that all-important alternative to the academic side.

"And, if I may say so, I was hugely impressed by the performances I have just seen."

He quipped: "I quickly note the cheerleaders. How you managed to get it past health and safety...?

"And the quality of the singing and the orchestra was terrific.

"I am thrilled to see just how much talent and real potential there is in Penrith and round about."

Charles received rapturous applause from the pupils in the playground as he departed for his next visit to Pooley Bridge.

There he will celebrate the opening of a temporary bridge over the River Eamont after the collapse of the original 250-year-old historic road bridge as a result of the storms.

The destruction meant that the village - which is a major visitor destination for the Lake District - was cut in half, preventing access for the majority of residents to the main A592 road.