Prince Charles looks out for Swansea farm's queen on a royal day
A CURIOUS Prince Charles asked if the queen had flown off during his visit to a Swansea farm.
The Prince of Wales was referring to a queen bee as he chatted to Kris Eakins, who was explaining that some 70,000 restless bees had left their hive recently at Swansea Community Farm.
Kris, 28, of Uplands, began volunteering at the farm two years ago and now helps out young people there — and some 350,000 bees.
He was described by a colleague as an example of the sort of person that keeps the 3.5 acre city farm thriving.
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Prince Charles looked at ease in his surroundings, talking to numerous volunteers who were tending vegetables, shovelling muck and dealing with compost.
He seemed rather impressed with Cornflower — a beast of a Welsh pig who grunted merrily in the rain.
Farm animal keeper Chris Jones said Cornflower was a rare breed - one of only six in the world of that particular bloodline.
"Rarer than a tiger!" said Mr Jones.
Later, His Royal Highness told Cadle Primary School pupils at the farm that he had been bitten by a pig once, which was "quite enough".
The pupils — school ambassadors and eco- committee members — sang songs and answered questions from the special guest.
One of them, Phoebe Tucker, said talking to the prince had been an exciting moment for her.
"He asked if came to the farm a lot, and we answered 'yes'," she said.
Teacher, Louise McCarroll, said: "We use the farm an awful lot. It's a good way for the children to learn where food comes from — it's not just from the supermarket shelf."
The heir to the throne made several jokes about the lousy weather, but did not cut short his stroll around the premises, just off Carmarthen Road.
Flanked by farm director Phil Budd, Prince Charles heard from volunteer Lawrence Sarsfield about the desiree potato crop, while John Roberts talked about compost.
The prince also unveiled a plaque on the wall of the farm's newly-opened cafe building, which had been funded by a £60,000 Big Lottery Fund Jubilee People's Millions grant.
The building comprises offices and a training kitchen, as well as the cafe, and was built by Bishopston builder Bob Mattingly with help from volunteers including "master sander" Richard Rees.
The prince's visit came courtesy of one his main charities, In Kind Direct, which supplies surplus products to other charities.
In Kind Direct has saved the farm some £8,000 over the last three years by providing items such as crockery, kitchen equipment and cleaning products.
Mr Budd said the royal visit was a "pat on the back" for everyone connected to the farm, past and present.
"It was fantastic," said Mr Budd.
"He had time for so many of our volunteers, and was not bothered by the weather at all.
"He was interested in what we were doing, and he spoke from a position of knowledge."
The farm has had backing from several groups and public bodies, including £590,000 over the years from the Big Lottery Fund for various infrastructure projects.
Big Lottery Fund Wales committee member Mike Theodoulou, who was present at the farm yesterday, said: "I'm delighted the Prince of Wales has shown his support for such a wonderful community project in the heart of Swansea."
Nine-year-old John Wesley Morgan of nearby Cadle Crescent was among the hardy crowd who welcomed the royal visitor.
Before entering the farm, the prince stepped out to shake their hands, including John's.
"It was good," he said.
For more pictures from the royal visit — see Monday's PicturePost pullout