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The Prince of Wales visits St. Asaph after the recent flooding

3rd December 2012

The Prince of Wales talks with flood victim Jenny Jones (centre), during a visit to emergency services and flood victims in St Asaph, Wales

The Prince of Wales talks with flood victim Jenny Jones (centre), during a visit to emergency services and flood victims in St Asaph, Wales

The Prince of Wales was praised today for his "morale boosting" visit to victims of last month's devastating floods in St Asaph.

The tiny city, in Denbighshire, North Wales, was inundated last Tuesday when the River Elwy burst over flood defences following days of persistent rain which brought pockets of the country, South West England and the Midlands to its knees.

Hundreds of properties were affected and many families have been forced out of their homes with little over three weeks until Christmas Day.

The Prince offered his support to victims and thanked members of the emergency services for their help and hard work.

He also had a private meeting with the family of great-grandmother Margaret Hughes, 91, who was found dead at her home in Tai'r Felin.

An inquest, which was opened and adjourned last week, was told the provisional cause of death was drowning.

The Prince arrived at the Roe Parc estate and immediately began speaking to residents before meeting dignitaries including Mayor of St Asaph John Roberts.

The estate still has debris, including mattresses, doors, refrigerators and tables, piled up outside flood-ravaged homes.

His Royal Highness was shown around the home of newlyweds Martin and Isla Jones.

Mr Jones, 40, said he told The Prince there had been more than 2ft (0.6m) of water throughout his house, and he thinks it could take around 12 months to fix and refurbish.

He said: "He was asking what needs repairing, what can be kept. Basically everything has got to be thrown out."

Mr Jones also tested His Royal Highness on his geographical knowledge using his bespoke Ordnance Survey map of the Cairngorms.

"So I put him to the test to see if he could pick out any mountains. He did OK, I would give him nine out of 10," he said.

Mr Jones said The Prince seemed very concerned, adding: "I don't think it was just a flying visit. He wanted to see what was going on and speak to local people."

During the visit, His Royal Highness also made a donation to the Mayor of St Asaph's flood relief fund.

Roy and Cynthia Evans, aged 93 and 83 respectively, said they were delighted with The Prince's visit to their street.

Mr Evans said: "He was very caring and said he was going to come back and see us again later. That's the second time he's been to St Asaph in three months now."

Mrs Evans said: "It boosts morale. We were very pleased, we didn't think this would happen. He was very caring and down to earth."

The Prince then made his way to St Asaph fire station, which was a hub for volunteers who were helping flood victims.

Before the visit Clarence House said The Prince of Wales was keen to thank emergency services and lend his support to some of the residents affected.

"The Prince decided to visit St Asaph because the city has been particularly badly hit by the flooding with over 180 homes in St Asaph affected," a spokeswoman said.

The Prince has asked one of his charities, Business in the Community (BITC), to form a Business Emergency Recovery Group (BERG) to assist the operation in St Asaph.

BERG is to mobilise practical help by drawing on BITC's network of business leaders and more than 850 member companies.

Rescue teams worked from the early hours of last Tuesday to evacuate residents after the River Elwy reached a record high of 14ft 3in (4.35m).

Many of the rescue volunteers were based at St Asaph fire station, which was the next stop on The Prince's tour of the city.

He spoke to firefighters Nia Ritchie and Emma O'Hare who had been on hand to support residents.

Ms O'Hare said: "He was very interested in our roles and it was very nice to be able to meet him and talk about our roles."

James Simpson, 28, from Prestatyn, was a volunteer at the flood advice centre.

He said: "It's wonderful that he came and showed his support, especially for the community, which is distraught at the moment."

The Prince rounded off his visit at St Asaph Cathedral, where a line-up of civic representatives welcomed him.

While he was there he spoke to other local residents as well as a number of people involved in the rescue and clean-up effort, including members of the British Red Cross; representatives from the RNLI; North East Wales Search and Rescue; representatives from the Environment Agency; children from local schools who were given time off to help with the clean-up operation; dinner ladies from local schools who cooked meals for those forced out of their homes; and centre managers who opened their doors to provide people with somewhere to sleep.

Gregory Cameron, the Bishop of St Asaph, said: "I said to The Prince 'I think it's very heartening, sir, that you have remembered us'. He said 'I could not have done otherwise'."

The Bishop praised The Prince for "clearing his diary" and making time for the community of St Asaph.

"The Prince is insisting on meeting everyone and spending time with them, engaging with them and being very personable," he said.

Linda Beard, a cook at Ysgol Glan Clwyd Secondary School, said she and her colleagues were called into action at 6am on the day the floods hit when the school was partially opened up as a rescue centre for residents.

Mrs Beard, 62, said of her conversation with The Prince: "He just said 'Thank God for dinner ladies' and asked us what we did."

Mrs Beard, who said she was quite nervous meeting The Prince, estimated that they made up to 400 meals that night.

"They had their dogs and cat and babies with them. It just made you want to cry but everyone pulled together," she added.

Isabelle Fisher, 89, who has to use a wheelchair, said it was "wonderful" to meet The Prince.

She said: "He was very understanding and natural. It was very good of him to come and talk so much about it to everyone."