Video & Galleries: Duchess of Cornwall visits Suffolk

CAMILLA, The Duchess of Cornwall, has visited Suffolk to support two causes close to her heart.

THE Duchess of Cornwall made a flying visit to Suffolk to support two causes close to her heart.

Prince Charles’s wife visited Orwell Park School in Nacton yesterday morning where she met veterans who served alongside her father with the Desert Rats during the Second World War.

The Duchess spoke to veterans who fought with Major Bruce Shand, who was captured and wounded at El Alamein in north Africa in 1942. It was one of the most decisive battles of the war.

As patron of the Desert Rats 7th Armoured Division Thetford Memorial Association, The Duchess was invited as guest of honour at one of the group’s annual gatherings at the school.

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She arrived in a 1937 Ford V8 Station Wagon used by the specialist reconnaissance unit the Long Range Desert Group in North Africa during the war.

The Duchess, wearing a Desert Rat brooch, posed for pictures with old soldiers and said she felt “enormous personal pride”.

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She was told how the Desert Rats had trained in Nacton in 1944 before the invasion of France.

Among El Alamein veterans at the event were Albert Pond, 87, of Saxmundham, and Norman Haste, 88, of Nacton.

Mr Pond, a tank commander, told how he fought in North Africa, Italy and helped Russian soldiers in the aftermath of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp near Krakow, Poland. Mr Haste, an army medic, said he had fought in North Africa, Italy and then took part in the D-Day landings in 1944.

In the afternoon she moved onto Ipswich Hospital’s Rheumatology Clinic in her role as president of the National Osteoporosis Society, a position she assumed following her mother’s death from the disease in 1997.

The Royal dignitary was welcomed to the hospital in Heath Road by chairman Mike Brookes, chief executive Andrew Reed, Mayor of Ipswich Jane Chambers, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, director of nursing Siobhan Jordan and nursing and medical staff.

She met members of the Bone Densitometry Team to view the bone density scanner she opened at the hospital seven years ago.

Former patients of the spinal team and the hip fracture team then spent time speaking to The Duchess.

Mary Horrocks, who has osteoporosis, said: “She was very pleasant and very natural with us all.”

And Joyce Mower, from Felixstowe, who had a life-changing operation to strengthen her spine, added: “The team here are tremendously important to me. I was in agony, in a wheelchair before my operation.”

Jan Wright, head matron and member of the hip fracture team, said the Royal visitor was a huge morale boost for the hospital.

“She is very interested and impassioned about what we are doing here.

“Her visit is very important in helping to raise the profile of osteoporosis, particularly for women’s health. A high percentage of people have the condition and many are not aware they have it,” she added.

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