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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit Kent and East Sussex

19th March 2014

The Prince of Wales speaks with local residents and business owners affected by the recent floods, during a visit to St. Peter's and St. Paul's Church in Yalding, Kent.

Today, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Yalding to meet the residents and business owners affected by the recent floods, to thank emergency services and to offer their support.

Their Royal Highnesses broke with protocol to pay an impromptu visit to Teapot Island so they could witness first hand the impact the flooding had had on the Blayze family.

The Duchess also bought a camel teapot as a souvenir.

The Teapot museum owners Keith and Sue Blayze whose business and home were left devastated by the winter floods are still clearing away the damage three months on.

The couple and their son Luke, 32, woke up during the early hours of Christmas morning to find Teapot Island, which is just outside the village of Yalding in Kent, under more than 3ft of water.

Since then they have worked every hour they can to put their livelihood back together in the hope that they will be open in time for Mother's Day.

Yalding was one of the first areas of the UK to be affected by the floods when the River Medway burst its banks on Christmas Eve.

The Prince and The Duchess also spoke to other residents in Yalding who had been affected, including a beekeeper whose 16 hives were swept away, and Tim and June Chapman who run the village post office.
They had to be rescued from an upstairs window of their home, which is next door, and taken to safety by boat, after the property filled with 5ft of water.

Mr Chapman, 58, said: "The post office flooded and all the money got wet, the computers got destroyed, but we were open again two weeks later."

Their home has not fared so well and the couple are living in a granny flat two miles down the road.

They said they hoped to be able to move back into their home in November.

Mr Chapman said The Prince asked them how they were and that he appeared shocked that they had lost their business and their house.

He said: "Money has been found for a feasibility study in the village over the flooding.

"No-one wants to move out as it is such a lovely village.

"We are looking to fortify our houses for if and when it happens again."

Following the floods in Yalding, Community Resilience UK - a partner of the Business Emergency Recovery Group - sent a regional adviser to the area to assess the impact.

Their Royal Highnesses also met representatives from the community interest company today to find out how it helps communities and small businesses prepare for and recover from major emergencies by working with voluntary and public sector organisations.

The Prince and Duchess also went to Burwash in East Sussex to visit Bateman's, which was the home of author Rudyard Kipling between 1902 and 1936.

The property was given to the National Trust by the family in 1939 and the rooms remain as the author of The Jungle Book left them.

Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by children from Burwash Primary School and also met house manager Gary Enstone.

The Prince was presented with a signed copy of a book by Kipling called A Fleet In Being, a series of articles about the British Channel Fleet.

The Prince and The Duchess also toured the house and gardens, including Kipling's study where he wrote some of his works, and the school room, where Charles and Camilla viewed items from the Bateman's archive, including letters written by Kipling's son, John "Jack" Kipling, who was killed during the First World War.