Video and gallery: Prince backs Blues against Norwich
PRINCE Charles today revealed the Tractor Boy inside him when he wished Ipswich Town “the best of luck” in their derby clash against Norwich City this Sunday.
PRINCE Charles revealed the Tractor Boy inside him when he wished Ipswich Town “the best of luck” in their derby clash against Norwich City this Sunday.
He made the gesture while visiting Portman Road yesterday to celebrate the club's contribution to the Prince's Trust.
At the same time he also became a fully signed up Blues' supporter when he received his very own Ipswich Town football shirt with “HRH 1” emblazoned on the back.
The Prince of Wales went on to wish Town the “best of luck” ahead of their televised match against Norwich on Sunday and said he hoped he had not “ruined their chances” by interrupting training.
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He added: “I shall be watching from across the border in Norfolk.”
During the visit The Prince, 60, spoke to many youngsters who have been helped by The Prince's Trust and also met Town players, staff from the football club and local dignitaries.
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Ipswich Town is the first football club to run a complete 12-week self-development 'Team' programme through the Ipswich Town Community Trust.
Speaking in the Sir Bobby Robson suite towards the end of his visit, the Prince said: “I am grateful to everyone here at Ipswich Town Football Club for their generous involvement with the trust because it really does make a huge difference, I promise you, just in terms of how people's lives can be changed around through motivation and channelling of potential talent and ability which is so often wasted.”
On arrival at Portman Road shortly before 2pm the Prince briefly watched the Otley College Football Team before he met youngsters who are being helped by the Prince's Trust 'Team' programme.
The programme supports 16-25 year olds who have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law.
One of those he spoke to was 19-year-old Douglas Kemp, from Ipswich, who is now going to apply for a career in the RAF thanks to the support he has received.
“I was nervous but I have been excited and really looking forward to meeting him. It was a really good experience and I was quite shocked at how laid back he was. He was down to earth and genuine and really interested in what I had to say.”
The Prince also met youngsters involved with The Prince's Trust 'Get Into Construction' programme which is for unemployed people between 16 and 25.
He spoke to Lee Corani, 25, from Ipswich, who served three months in prison after assaulting somebody when he was 20.
He now says The Prince's Trust has given him the confidence and motivation to get into work and said he felt honoured to speak to Prince Charles.
“It was unbelievable and absolutely top drawer. I cannot really explain it. To talk to him was really good and I am very pleased.
“He asked me quite a lot of questions and it was really good to hear some of the things that he had to say. I was quite proud.”
The Prince then went on to meet Town players and staff and was presented with an Ipswich Town home shirt by club captain Richard Naylor.
The Town defender said: “It was a great honour to meet him and present him with a shirt. He thanked me for it and said it was nice. I told him I did not know if he was allowed to take it up to Norfolk.”
He added: “Ipswich is a very community-based football club and for us to get involved with the charity and for him to recognise that is a tremendous boost.”
In the Sir Bobby Robson Suite towards the end of the visit, Ipswich Town chairman, David Sheepshanks, paid tribute to the role The Prince's Trust plays in the community.
“We were extremely enthusiastic when we were approached to become the first football club in this country to take on the role of actually being the delivery partner for The Prince's Trust in this area.
“Starting in January 2008 we have been able both to more fully play our part and to appreciate at first hand the quite fantastic, metamorphic effect of the Prince's Trust 'Team' programme on these young people.”