Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Stepping out with Harry

Prince Harry puts his best foot forward on a visit to Aberdeen
(photo Kensington Palace Instagram)

There's no one like it for stepping out in style. Prince Harry has spent the day in Aberdeen hearing about how sport and mentoring can help social development. The day had plenty of serious points - Harry also spoke about losing his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. But despite that, the prince was keen to keep smiling and he kept up his reputation for having fun, no matter what.  It's time to step out with Harry.

Harry started his day off at the Mackie Academy in Stonehaven where he heard about some of the work done by the Diana Award, set up in memory of his mother who died in 1997 when he was 12 years old. Today was all about mentoring and Harry revealed that a sergeant at Sandhurst, whose name he kept secret, looked after him when he arrived there feeling a little lost.

Harry went on to say that the support and mentoring offered by the army sergeant gave him 'the confidence to look forward' and to 'push forward and to try to help others'. He met another young man who lost his mum at an early age and who is trying to use that experience to support others in a similar situation. Jamie McIntosh was presented with the Diana Award after he wrote a book offering reflections and guidance following the loss of his own mother who died from cancer. His book in memory of his mum, Monica, is designed to help others who are going through deep grief. Harry spoke of his admiration for seventeen year old Jamie and told him his book would help many people.

Harry then headed to Streetsport which offers free activities to children and young people from across Aberdeen. It aims to help them learn about social development as well as coming along to have a good time playing sport or taking part in creative activities.

When was Harry ever not going to join in? Football, flip the beanbag, just jumping around. This is where the fun took over.

Harry also heard about the serious side of this scheme which is run by Robert Gordon University before moving on to his final engagement of the day. Harry learned more about the work of Sported, an organisation which supports grassroots clubs to use activity to transform the lives of young people.

Harry  visited Transition Extreme, a member of Sported, where he was got a glimpse of climbing walls and skateboarding before settling for the more genteel joining in of tennis. There was also a debate about using sport to help young people develop other skills - a fitting finale to a day that was all about a serious message conveyed with lots of fun.

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