Prince Philip pays royal visit to two Hackney youth clubs
12:35 22 February 2012
Prince Philip defied his advancing years and recent health scare to keep up with youngsters at two Hackney youth centres on Tuesday evening (February 21).
The Duke of Edinburgh, 90, visited Laburnum Boat Club then Hackney Quest as a patron of London Youth, a charity which supports both projects as part of a network of 400 organisations across the capital.
The prince, who was hospitalised with heart problems over Christmas, watched young people narrow boating, rock climbing, and pancake making at Laburnum Boat Club along the Regents Canal in Haggerston - but could not resist getting involved himself.
“The prince was very good considering his age and his recent ill health,” said director Jim Armstrong.
“He was bright and energetic and really interested in what was going on.
“He even climbed into one of the narrow boats - despite the fact the lights weren’t on and the boats are hard enough to get into anyway.”
Following the 40 minute tour, he went on to Hackney Quest in Poole Street, south Hackney, where young people are organising their annual Keep the Peace event as part of London Youth’s Athan 31 Project.
The prince talked to the HEAT team about the celebration at Hackney’s Round Chapel in April as well as Hackney Quest’s TAG Rugby Titans, a group of girls who are fundraising to go to Zambia in October.
And after watching workshops about healthy eating and fitness, he sat down to a formal three-course meal when he was presented with a plaque by 19-year-old Seun Ijiwole, who has attended the club since she was 13.
Hackney Quest director Colette Allen said: “It was a really honour for us to be picked for him to come to visit.
“There was a lot of security in place beforehand but on the day itself, it was all very low key.
“The prince did amazingly well for a 90-year-old man. I had a lot of admiration for him.
“He spent some time engaging with the young people, cracking jokes and making them laugh. He has a way of putting people at ease and doesn’t seem intimidating.”