Ballygowan vet meets Prince of Wales

Simon Doherty meeting Prince Charles
Simon Doherty meeting Prince Charles

A Co Down vet met His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales during an official charity visit to Bath in England.

Simon Doherty, from Ballygowan, was formally introduced to the Prince during his visit to Send a Cow’s head office where he was invited to meet trustees, country directors and to see the charity’s new office extension.

His Royal Highness is both President and landlord of Send a Cow – an international development charity established almost 30 years ago by Westcountry dairy farmers.

Speaking about the meeting Simon, who is a trustee of Send a Cow and senior vice-president of the North of Ireland Veterinary Association (NIVA) and the BVA Northern Ireland Branch (BVA NI), said: “It was an honour to be there on the day and to speak to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales about the incredible work Send a Cow is doing with smallholder farmers in Africa. We discussed my role as a vet and a Trustee and discussed the importance of animal welfare.

“It was a fantastic experience to meet him and a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of Send a Cow. It’s clear that Prince Charles is a big supporter of the charity and has an avid interest in agriculture.”

Send a Cow operates in seven countries in Africa and works closely with African smallholder famers and communities to secure their future, an approach His Royal Highness warmly supports: “I do congratulate you on all your work, it’s very important to keep smallholders going. It’s vital.”

He also spoke about the importance of women in farming in Africa and the need to continually empower them as well as encouraging young people to work in agriculture.

Send a Cow provides some of Africa’s poorest people with training, tools, seeds and livestock to lift themselves out of poverty. His Royal Highness has been the charity’s landlord for 27 years and its President since 2009.

During the visit, His Royal Highness took a tour of the building site and unveiled a plaque which will be installed on completion. He also viewed plans for an African garden designed by TV gardener and Send a Cow supporter, Toby Buckland.

The charity’s Chief Executive the Simon Barnes escorted His Royal Highness throughout the visit and presented him with a previously unseen photograph of Her Majesty the Queen as a young Princess which he and his wife, Lucy, had received as a wedding present: “I’ll see if Ma-ma remembers it,” said His Royal Highness, “and remembers what she was wearing when it was taken.”