Charles visits cancer help centre
Monday 30th September 2013, 3:11AM BST.
The Prince of Wales has visited a cancer support charity as it celebrates its 30th year.
Charles, who has the title Duke of Rothesay while in Scotland, met volunteers, staff and patients at Clan Cancer Support in Aberdeen.
He was greeted by Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam and Aberdeen City Council chief executive Valerie Watts as he arrived at the centre in Westburn Road.
The charity offers free comfort, support and information to anyone affected by cancer. It moved to the new site in November 2011. Set up in 1983, it celebrated 30 years on September 25.
Charles met volunteers at the centre’s drop-in area and chatted with Clan Cancer’s hairdresser before touring the library.
He was shown the children and families’ department by chief executive Debbie Thomson and met service users.
Charles, who wore a kilt of Stewart Hunting Ancient tartan, spoke with patients receiving complementary therapies and observed a relaxation session.
He also toured the adjacent Clan Haven accommodation for patients and their families who travel from outside Aberdeen for appointments and treatments in the city’s hospitals.
He later unveiled a plaque to mark his visit.
Unveiling the plaque, Charles said: “I’m thrilled to be able to come here today and see this absolutely remarkable place for the first time, but also to help celebrate the 30th anniversary.
“I was pretty thrilled to talk to someone who founded CLAN all those years ago and who is here today. I just wanted to say if it wasn’t for the marvellous people who have the foresight and determination to get somewhere like this off the ground, I don’t know where we would be.
“It’s been a great pleasure for me to meet all the wonderful volunteers, or at least some of the 400 you are lucky enough to have, who I know do such a remarkable job.
“I have nothing but the greatest admiration for all those who play such an important part in delivering these vital services.”
Clan now has nine local centres across the north-east of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland, covering an area with 10% of the Scottish population.
Mary Forbes, a founding member of the charity who spoke to Charles, said: “I thought he was charming and his visit gives kudos. I’m very proud of what has happened.
“Obviously we started in a very small way and it has really expanded. People felt there was a need because however good the doctors and nurses are, there is not the time to sit down and give the services people can get here.”
Clan client Betty Sturton, 60, from Bridge of Don, chatted with Charles as she received the complimentary therapy reflexology.
She described the centre and its services as a “comfort blanket” for cancer patients and their families.
“He was understanding and I think he agreed that there are a lot of alternatives that can be done to help people through Clan,” she said.
“He was lovely, and we did offer to do his feet.”
Lynne Hume, 46, of Peterculter, who was receiving healing therapy during the visit, said: “He spent a lot of time and was really, really interested in what was going on.
“The whole centre is just amazing. You have smiling faces when you walk in and walk out and you always meet so many nice people.”
Ms Thomson, who showed the prince around the centre, said his visit is the “icing on the cake” of the charity’s birthday month.
“It was a fantastic day. His royal highness made everyone feel so relaxed and he truly enjoyed his visit to us, meeting not only our staff and volunteers but also our clients and the residents in Clan Haven,” she said.
“It was a great honour and it truly capped what has been a memorable month.
“Clan is a charity that just wants to help people who are going through what can be a traumatic time.
“We have done so much and achieved so much over the past 30 years and I think everyone is justifiably proud.”