Charles' Concern for Countryside in Crisis; Royal Pretenders: Prince Visits Civil War Hiding Place of Charles II

Article excerpt

Byline: Alun Thorne

The Prince of Wales spoke of the 'unique and enormous' challenges facing the countryside during a visit to a Midland agricultural college yesterday.

After unveiling a stone commemorating Harper Adams University College's centenary, the Prince spoke of the difficulties facing farming communities.

Addressing students and staff at the Shropshire college, he praised the institution for helping the agriculture.

He said: 'At a time when our countryside faces unique and enormous challenges, the role of institutions like Harper Adams has never been more important.

'I know it takes great effort on behalf of other agencies to help create a better future.

'It's a very special environment which only looks as beautiful as it does because it is cared for on a daily basis year in, year out.'

The Prince went on to praise the college for producing skilled and dedicated graduates who went on to work in all sections of the farming community.

During his tour of the college and its grounds the Prince heard some of the difficulties facing farmers across the country and in Shropshire in particular.

He heard how the Shropshire Rural Stress Information Network had been set up to help combat the spiralling suicide rates among farmers.

During a seminar at the college, the Prince heard how several projects across the county were helping farmers fight back and boost the rural economy.

The seminar formed part of the Prince's 'seeing is believing' initiative where he is encouraging business executives to visit rural communities and market towns to see for themselves the problems of the countryside and the solutions in which they and their companies can play a part. …