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Charles meets refugees from war-torn Syria during trip to Cumbria

The Prince of Wales spoke to two families who have found safety and built new lives in Britain after fleeing war abroad.

06 April 2022

The Prince of Wales has met refugees from war-torn Syria during a day-long trip to Cumbria.

Charles spoke to two families who have found safety and built new lives in Britain after fleeing war abroad.

The royal visitor spoke to them after meeting local farmers and business owners at Hutton-in-the-Forest, a Grade 1 listed house, near the village of Skelton.

Riyad Moussa, 45, his wife Myassa Moussa, 40, and their four daughters, Jamila, 14, Jana, seven, Hana, six, and Joanna, four, spent time chatting to Charles.

The family, originally from Aleppo, escaped Syria to Lebanon and were resettled to Carlisle in 2017.

They were one of the first families among around 250 people resettled in the area from Syria, the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan thanks to the Home Office, UNHCR and Cumbria County Council.

Jamila, translating for her father, said their house in Aleppo was bombed by Russian forces in Syria, causing the family to flee their homeland.

The prince asked them how they were getting on and if they were enjoying life in the UK.

Jamila said: “He just asked how we are liking it and if I like school and if we like it here or not.

“My father said, ‘I’m very happy. Lovely’.”

Mr Moussa, who worked in Syria as a gardener, a passion also shared by Charles, has a delivery driver job but keeps an allotment.

He said: “I love it here because I came from war and I came here and I’m very happy.

“I miss my country but also it is not a good government, it is very bad, like mafia, like Russia.”

Mrs Moussa said the prince spoke some Arabic, telling the family “Inshallah” after asking how they were getting on with Ramadan, the holy month where Muslims must fast during the day.

Charles was also gifted a Chimney Sheep invented by local businesswoman Sally Phillips.

The device, made out of felted Herdwick sheep wool, blocks chimneys, stopping warm air escaping and cold air getting into homes.

Ms Phillips said 11 million homes in the UK have open chimneys, with her device saving about 5% of household heat loss.

Charles, looking slightly puzzled, took the device as Ms Phillips explained what it was for.

She said: “It’s astonishing how many open fireplaces there are.

“I think he took it on board. What he was meant to say was ‘I could do with a few of those in my house’ but he didn’t!

The Prince of Wales unveils a plaque during a visit to Tebay Services in Cumbria to mark its 50th anniversary
The Prince of Wales unveils a plaque during a visit to Tebay Services in Cumbria to mark its 50th anniversary (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

“He would need a few.”

Charles also heard from locals about the fight for Newton Rigg College in Cumbria, one of the country’s most important land-based colleges, which closed in July 2021.

Newton Rigg Ltd, a community organisation, is fighting to preserve the site for educational use, and rebuild land-based education and training.

Earlier Charles called in at the Tebay motorway services to mark its 50th anniversary of opening, visiting the farm shop on site and meeting apprentices taking part in the butchery training scheme.

The royal visitor also viewed the extensive cheese section of the shop at Tebay Services, the only family-run service station in the United Kingdom, which works with 70 local producers to showcase the best of Cumbrian food and produce.

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