The Prince and Princess of Wales were in South Wales Valleys and Mid Wales last week, meeting members of the local community and spending time with the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team which is celebrating its 60th anniversary year.

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team

On this first day in Wales, The Prince of Wales, Patron of Mountain Rescue England and Wales, and The Princess of Wales spent the afternoon visiting the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team.

Run entirely by volunteers, the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team has been working to keep the communities of Mid and South Wales safe since 1963. The team responds to calls 24 hours a day, year-round and covers the Central area of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, which incorporates Pen y Fan, the highest point in southern Britain, as well as the Ystradfellte waterfalls, Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys.

During their time with the team, Their Royal Highnesses had the opportunity to engage in training activities such as abseiling, medical support exercises and a search dog rescue demonstration. They also met current volunteers and heard about their roles and experiences of carrying out rescues, in addition to former team members spanning the organisation’s 60-year history.

Dowlais Rugby Club

After meeting with the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue team, The Prince and Princess visited the nearby Dowlais Rugby Club where members of the team typically go to relax and socialise.

Inside the club, Their Royal Highnesses spent time with mountain rescue volunteers, the organisation’s supporters, and members of the local community.

Aberfan Memorial Garden

On their second day in Wales, The Prince and Princess visited the Aberfan Memorial Garden to pay their respects to those who lost their lives during the Aberfan disaster.

The Aberfan Memorial Garden sits on the site of the Pantglas school which was tragically destroyed in a coal-tip landslide on 21st October 1966. The incident led to the loss of 144 lives, including 116 children. Opened in 1974 by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the garden commemorates the victims of the disaster, whilst also providing a place for bereaved parents, siblings, next of kin, survivors, and the whole community to pay their respects.

Their Royal Highnesses were guided around the garden by one of the Aberfan survivors and Professor Peter Vaughan, Lord Lieutenant of Mid Glamorgan. The Prince and Princess then met trustees from the Aberfan Memorial Trust who are involved in ensuring the maintenance of the garden, alongside some of the ‘Aberfan Wives’, relatives of the children who lost their lives during the disaster.