King ‘impressed’ by plaque made to mark his visit to community facility

The King said he was “very impressed” as he was presented with a plaque made to commemorate his visit to community groups in Aberdeenshire.

Charles visited the Mid-Deeside Community Shed, near Aboyne, on Thursday to meet representatives of organisations working across the region.

He also drank tea with members of the Aboyne Men’s Shed, which is housed in the community shed, and watched craft skills including wood and stone carving in action.

Charles, dressed in a hunting Stewart tartan kilt, then unveiled the plaque, made by Men’s Shed member Tony Atherton, to a round of applause and said: “I am very impressed.”

The plaque reads: “This plaque was unveiled to commemorate the visit of His Majesty King Charles III to Aboyne Men’s Shed on Thursday 12th January.”

After admiring it, Charles quipped: “Has he spelt it all right?”

The visit was the King’s first public engagement since the Duke of Sussex’s memoir Spare hit the shops.

Royal visit to Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed
Charles talks to Men’s Shed member Tony Atherton (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Tipped by industry experts to be one of the year’s biggest-selling books, it contains a series of revelations about royal life.

According to the publisher, the English language edition of Spare sold more than 1,430,000 units in all formats and editions in the United States, Canada and the UK on January 10 when it first hit bookshop shelves.

On arrival at the community shed, Charles was greeted by Lord Lieutenant Sandy Manson before meeting with members of the public gathered outside.

Scotland The Brave rang out on the pipes, played by pipe major James Cooper, 23, of Ballater & District Pipe Band.

Royal visit to Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed
Sandra Charles, from Australia, managed to have a quick chat with the King during her holiday to Aberdeenshire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Sandra Charles, 64, who is visiting from Australia, said she had been tipped off about the King’s visit by a friend in Aberdeen.

“I thought while I am over here why not come along and see if I can get the chance to meet him,” she said, minutes before Charles spoke to her.

Speaking after her interaction with the King, she added: “I was waving and he came up and I said I was from Australia. He said to say hello to everyone back in Australia. When he came back out, he remembered me and said ‘are you still here?’, and then said ‘we can’t do without the Aussies’.”

The King was given a tour of the Aboyne Men’s Shed, which is part of an international network of Men’s Sheds providing community spaces for men to connect.

King Charles
The Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed houses various local projects and groups (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The venue features antique machinery and tools, the majority of which were donated by a Scot called Hugh Gibson who supported the cause.

Shed member John Stodter, in his 60s, spoke with Charles as he toured the room.

“He was very interested in a post box that we have which is a George V one,” he said.

“Each King and Queen has their own royal cypher, and this one has George V’s. It’s distinctive because he used GR, and the one we have also has a crown on it.

“I have seen some of these post boxes go for a fair bit of money… one was £1,800.

King Charles
Charles met with well-wishers, and their pets, outside the community facility (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“He (Charles) said it would make a good bird box.”

The King then sat down to drink tea, served to him in “a special teacup”, with members of the Shed.

Mr Stodter added: “When he (Charles) sat down, apparently he looked around the table and said ‘I think we’re all the same age’.”

The King was also presented with a swift box by the Shed’s chairman Mike Brooks, during which he could be heard uttering “I love swifts” followed by “thank-you very much, that’s very kind”.

Speaking about his interaction with Charles, Mr Brooks said: “He was just very interested in what we are doing. He spoke to everyone, shook their hands and looked at the crafts.

“We presented him with a swift box because we know he has them at Balmoral, and these boxes are very special.”

Royal visit to Aboyne and Mid Deeside Community Shed
Charles unveiled a plaque made to commemorate his visit (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Brooks added: “The day went really well.

“It was great to see the King come to this Shed.

“A lot of men are on their own, and find themselves with no-one, and it can be very lonely, and this place is all about getting men chatting together.”

Charles then visited representatives from other charities and voluntary groups in an upstairs part of the Shed, including the Inverurie-based Aberdeenshire North Foodbank, Gordon Rural Action and Young at Heart Deeside.

After the visit, a spokesman for the King said he had made a personal donation of a community fridge to an Aberdeenshire foodbank.

The fridge would be used to store food donated by members of public for those from local communities facing hardship.