Daily Mail

‘Inspiratio­nal and fantastic’

Royal tribute to nation’s volunteers

- By Rebecca English Royal Editor

The King and Queen Consort expressed their heartfelt thanks to selfless volunteers working with the elderly yesterday.

Charles and Camilla visited Colchester in essex to celebrate its new city status and had tea with supporters of charity Age UK and The Silver Line, a helpline for older people.

Their visit came as entries for the Queen Consort’s Coronation Champions Awards, organised by the Royal Voluntary Service and backed by the Daily Mail, flooded in.

At the tea party at Colchester Library, Charles, 74, moved from table to table to speak to dozens of volunteers.

his Majesty described their work as ‘inspiratio­nal’, adding: ‘What you do is so marvellous. Thank you so much for everything you do. It is fantastic.’

he then eagerly eyed up their scones – tactfully refusing to say if he thought it should be jam or cream first. ‘ These things are fatal,’ he laughed. Volunteer Rodger Dennison said he started to man the 24-hour phone line because he wanted to ‘give back’ to his community in north London.

he added: ‘Sometimes people want help, sometimes they just want to chat. Both myself and the people I speak to are learning new skills. It’s so rewarding.’

The Queen Consort said: ‘What you do is absolutely so important. You become their friend. That’s what you do.’

The royals also cut a cake, giggling as they both held the knife. Charles has been patron of Age UK since 2010 and Camilla, 75, has been patron of The Silver Line since 2017.

Almost a thousand entries have been submitted for the Coronation Champions Awards.

They celebrate millions of volunteers who go the extra mile in their communitie­s in this historic

year of celebratio­n for the nation. Five hundred champions, picked by a team of experts, will receive a Coronation pin and signed certificat­e from Camilla. They will get an

invitation for themselves and a guest for the Coronation Concert at Windsor or a Coronation Garden Party. Nomination­s are open for anyone over 14. earlier in the day,

Camilla met broadcaste­r Dermot O’Leary and author Frank Cottrell-Boyce to mark the essex Year of Reading and was given a library card. She told children there that ‘reading was the greatest gift you can give’.

As the royals came and left, they ignored a small but vocal demonstrat­ion led by Piers Corbyn, a conspiracy theorist and brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy.

Mr Corbyn said: ‘I am not really a monarchist, no, but that’s not the issue here. It’s against his political stance, his connection­s with the World economic Forum and the crazy green agenda coming out of it. I am against all the green nonsense he spouts.’

Well- wishers shouted and cheered to drown protesters out. Linda Cameron, 45, said: ‘There were only a few of them but they had a megaphone and were trying to make as much noise as possible. They came to try and make a point but people were doing everything they could to drown them out.’

Wendy Connelly, 70, said: ‘I think [Charles] has done a wonderful job of going out and meeting so many people. We were very pleased to see them and just tried to ignore those guys over there.’

‘What you do is so important’

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 ?? ?? Slice of the action: Charles and Camilla cut a cake yesterday
Slice of the action: Charles and Camilla cut a cake yesterday

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