Page last updated at 19:16 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Duchess of Cornwall praises 'tireless' ShelterBox

Duchess of Cornwall in ShelterBox tent
The duchess inspected the inside of the 10-person ShelterBox tent

A Cornish-based charity which provides survival equipment to disaster-hit countries has been described as "tireless" by the Duchess of Cornwall.

In her role of royal patron, the duchess was visiting the ShelterBox headquarters in Helston.

The charity currently has a team in Chile to assess what aid the country needs after Saturday's earthquake.

The duchess inspected one of the the 10-person tents included in each of the sturdy green survival boxes.

She praised the "strength and ability" of staff who have recently helped to pack, ship and distribute more than 8,000 aid packages to Haiti, including setting up a tented village near the capital of Port au Prince.

'First-hand knowledge'

The duchess was shown around the headquarters by Jane Henderson, wife of the charity's founder Tom Henderson.

Later the royal guest was treated to a rendition of the charity single Hope For Haiti, recorded and performed by the children of Penrice Community College.

Penrice Community College children sing to the Duchess of Cornwall
Pupils sang Hope for Haiti - another country helped by ShelterBox

The first consignment of aid boxes arrived in Haiti five days after the tragedy and were used to set up emergency field hospitals, immediately saving lives by providing vital shelter to patients with nowhere else to go.

In a personal written message to the charity, the duchess said in 2006 she had experienced at first hand the vital support ShelterBox provided to disaster victims when she visited Pakistan with Prince Charles following a devastating earthquake.

"Four years later and, yet again, ShelterBox has responded to one of the worst disasters in its history - providing 8,000 boxes to shelter 80,000 survivors of the earthquake in Haiti, with more on the way," she said.

"ShelterBox's strength and ability to respond quickly are a testament to the fantastic support and goodwill of so many of you."

ShelterBox, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year, is now the largest Rotary Club project in the world.

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