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Good Holiday Ideas | September 19, 2019

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The Prince and the President to the rescue

The Prince and the President to the rescue

Editor John Hill rejoices a brilliant Scottish revolution

I am proud to have been raised in a small village that once was a world leader for inventions, but has been butchered by Thatcherism and globalism and lurched downwards to being Britain’s toughest town. But is making a great comeback thanks to the efforts of HRH Prince Charles, and President Trump’s family, who have achieved what the politicians have failed to do – by bringing   Cumnock and Ayrshire’s best coastal area from poverty and dereliction to be being great again.

“Cumnock?  Is that not a caramel biscuit”? Jested Sir Billy Connolly when we met years ago.    No Billy, it’s in Ayrshire, I retorted.

Billy closed the conversation with this stunning quip – “I wouldnae brag aboot that, sonny”

Ouch!  It really hurt, but, Billy was right as iron and steelworks, rail lines, shipyards, car factories and the entire the coal mining industry,  farming, and fishing  were all devasted, leading to stunning hardship, and the region which once boasted Britain’s first street lighting, discovered  tarmac roads, and tested road cat’s eyes, as well as being involved with Logie Baird’s TV invention went downhill fast.   Sorry, forgot to mention Cumnock’s footballing greats such as the Shankly brothers, who rebuilt Liverpool FC, and my late mother’s Caldow family, whose most famous son was Eric Caldow, captain of Rangers FC and Scotland.

As families fled the devastated mining area it lurched into chaos and semi-squalor, with mines left rusting, and open-cast companies failed  too – and so neglect led to the kind of impoverishment which caused ITV commentator Ross Kemp to  christen it “Britain’s toughest town.

But do come back Billy, and all SNP critics, and see how the area has been brought back to life – by HRH Prince Charles, and ditto just 20 miles away at Turnberry resort by Eric Trump at Turnberry.

Prince Charles, known locally as the Duke of Rothesay, loves Scotland and was shocked into action some 10 years ago when Cumnock’s only stately home, the Adams brothers Dumfries House, went under the auctioneer’s hammer and was rescued before the demolishers ball swooped. Indeed, he saved the house and its  rare, irreplaceable Chippendale furniture by having removal vans stopped and ordering their return to Cumnock.

The Duke took out a personal loan and put together a rescue group, including charities, the Government, private individuals and heritage bodies.  And over the years he has got his sleeves rolled up and revitalised the damp-stricken house and its 2,000- acre-estate and turned it from  an over-grown brambled, wilderness to a fabulous, tourist-filled country-park attraction, on the must-visit map for both travellers and culture lovers. And it is loved by thankful locals too, as it has upped all their loves.

Trump too!

Not only has Prince Charles recognised the need for a refurb, but so has President Donald Trump 20 miles down the road, where his Turnberry hotel, the world’s first ever golf resort, is having a massive £250-million injection of capital to turn the resort, with Britain’s very best sea views, into a world-class destination 

Prince’s Foundation

The Foundation was established last year to sustain the legacy of the Prince of Wales’s charities, including Dumfries House Trust, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, and the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts – and the Foundation focuses on –

  • PROMOTING the environment
  • HERITAGE , CULTURAL AND EDUCATION projects, to help people engage in learning experiences to promote confidence and personal development.

The Prince’s Foundation is heavily involved in restoring historic buildings and new and sustainable developments, and among the Trust’s achievements are –

  • DESIGN and construction of the Highland Games Pavilion at Braemar, now a major tourist attraction
  • SAVING New Cumnock’s town hall from closure and giving a valuable community space
  • REFURBING and saving the local swimming pool next door.
  • CREATING a restaurant and Highgrove shop, tearooms and bistro at flood-damaged Ballater.

Now the Prince’s Foundation is branching out to help in other areas and working to solve the deficit of future engineers in the UK through getting young people aged from 9-13 interested in the link between engineering and nature.

And finally, in the land of potatoes and beef mince, the Foundation is educating youngsters on healthy eating on a budget  as a way of building confidence.

Little wonder that the Prince, on his regular walks round the town and local areas, is often hailed heartily by locals, one of whom told me: “Never mind King – he should be our Premier.”

  • MORE on how the Prince, with his quiet and understated genius, is helping to make my region great again, in Good Holiday Magazine (available in City of London banks and British Airways lounges).
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