Well-wishers welcome Kate and William to lifeboat station

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by hundreds of well-wishers as they toured one of the busiest lifeboat stations in Wales.

William and Kate visited the RNLI’s Mumbles lifeboat station, which overlooks Swansea Bay, to speak to crew and volunteers.

The royal couple stopped to speak and shake hands with many of the members of the public who had come to catch a glimpse of the pair.

The duchess was all smiles as she gave high fives to young children, spoke to their parents and said hello to friendly dogs.

The Duke of Cambridge outside the RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station
The Duke of Cambridge outside the RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station (Steve Parsons/PA)
The Duchess of Cambridge high-fives children in the crowd
The Duchess of Cambridge high-fives children in the crowd (Ben Birchall/PA)

At the lifeboat station, William and Kate spoke to crew members about day-to-day life as part of a team that provides 24-hour rescue services at sea.

The duke presented James Bolter with a medal to mark 20 years of RNLI service before watching the lifeboat launch as a part of training exercise.

The couple took time to speak to Paul O’Dwyer, 41, a former Royal Engineers reservist, who was rescued by the crew last summer after his yacht broke down.

Speaking afterwards, the steel worker, who also runs the Sa1ute military charity, said: “It was fantastic to meet them. I’m so grateful for the time they gave to speak to all of us.”

He was on the first day of a two-week sailing holiday with his wife and two young children and had to be towed back to Swansea by the lifeboat.

Meeting the crew at RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station
Meeting the crew at RNLI Mumbles lifeboat station (Ben Birchall/PA)
The RNLI Mumbles lifeboat
The RNLI Mumbles lifeboat (Ben Birchall/PA)

“It took two-and-a-half-hours to get back as on the way back the lifeboat had three other shouts and they let us go,” said Mr O’Dwyer, from Port Talbot.

“We had to put the sails up and they came back and got us. Our holiday was cut short and we had to go camping for two weeks instead.”

After departing Mumbles pier, William and Kate were greeted by crowds cheering and waving Welsh flags as they arrived at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour on the nearby sea front.

They met directors of the family company, which is in its fifth generation, before being served with ice cream by staff.

William had told managing director Adrian Hughes that he liked chocolate ice cream and so was served two varieties, one vanilla in a cone with chocolate sprinkles and one chocolate in a cup with a wafer.

Kate had a vanilla ice cream in a cup with a wafer, the same served to five nursery children she and William met in the shop.

She pointed to her ice cream and said “snap” to the children before confessing that she did not think she would be able to finish all of her larger portion.

The royals sampled sweet treats at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour
The royals sampled sweet treats at Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit south Wales
Meeting young fans (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

The parents of the children, from Oystermouth Primary School, said they had all completed the duchess’s survey on the early years.

Later, the duke and duchess will meet workers, company directors and trade unions at Tata Steel in Port Talbot.

William and Kate will join a discussion with Tata executives and union representatives before spending time with employees in the plant’s Hot Strip Mill and training academy in Port Talbot.

Tata announced in November it would be cutting up to 1,000 UK jobs, part of a total reduction of up to 3,000 across Europe.

William and Kate will end their day by visiting the Bulldogs Development Centre in Port Talbot which, through fitness and boxing, gives young people in the area who may have mental health issues a sense of belonging.

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