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THE Prince of Wales poked fun at the life-threatening predicaments "suicidal" sheep get themselves into as he helped launched an initiative to promote Welsh lamb.

Ewes trapped by rising sea waters, jaywalking on roads or marooned on precarious ledges were some of the potentially fatal scenarios highlighted by Charles as he hosted a lunch for farmers, chefs and restaurateurs to launch the London Welsh Lamb Club. The heir to the throne even joked how his son Prince William, an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter co-pilot, could be plucking a hapless animal from danger.

Restaurateurs who join the free club are given a certificate to display in their eateries which confirms the meat being served has been verified as Welsh lamb.

The organisation was established by the Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) to capitalise on the growing interest in the produce and it already has 50 members with more waiting to be accredited.

Those already signed up include a number of gastropubs and high-end restaurants like Odette's in Primrose Hill, where TV cook Bryn Williams is chef patron, and Irish chef Richard Corrigan's self-named establishment in exclusive Mayfair. Charles, who keeps Lleyn sheep at his Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire, told his guests: "Bearing in mind the sheep's unerring desire to commit suicide it really is a miracle anything ever arrives on anyone's plate.

"I spend my life trying to extract sheep stuck in fences or upsidedownsomewhere or other, or marooned on rock ledges or at the bottom of cliffs as the tide comes in. …