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Friday, 21 September, 2001, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Royal visit to troubled area
Prince William given CD
Prince William visits an elderly lunch club
Residents and asylum seekers have united to welcome Prince William and Prince Charles to the Sighthill area of Glasgow.

Sighthill houses about 1,500 asylum seekers and saw heightened tensions last month following the death of a young Turkish Kurd, Firsat Yildiz Dag.

A substantial crowd gathered as the royal pair arrived and as Prince William emerged from car the crowd yelled his name and cheered loudly.

But beneath the welcome there was an air of tension with one woman claiming that with more than 200 refugees from Palestine and Afghanistan in the area residents were worried who their new neighbours were.

Crowds surround the prince's car
Crowds tried to get a closer look
She said in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks on New York some locals were frightened to go to bed at night fearing who was living next door.

The visit is one of a number of engagements by Prince Charles and his son, before the young prince begins a university course in St Andrews next week.

People battled to get to the front of a sealed off section of Sighthill to get a better look at the royal duo.

One local resident, Karen MacDonald, 17, had waited for than more two hours to get a closer look of Prince William.

"He's totally gorgeous. He looks some much better in real life," she said.

Muhubo Hassan, 32, from Somalia, said the community was "thrilled" the princes had decided to come to Sighthill, her home for the past 18 months.

She said: "We are just so happy and all of us local people and refugees like me have been so excited about today.


It makes me feel special to be here. So many people don't care about what's been happening here that it's great that two people as important as these made such an effort.

Muhubo Hassan from Somalia
"It makes me feel special to be here. So many people don't care about what's been happening here that it's great that two people as important as these made such an effort.

In a community centre on the Sighthill estate, the two princes dropped in on a lunch club for the elderly.

They took it in turns to speak to groups on different tables but undoubtedly Prince William was the biggest hit.

He was given a CD of country and western music by 61-year-old Dorothy Gordon and he wrote in her address book: "Dorothy, with very best wishes, William."

She said: "I gave him the CD because I thought he deserved it. He was delighted with it and said thank you very much indeed. He's lovely.

Very genuine

"After he signed my book he said: 'Would you like my phone number?' and I said: 'No, that won't be necessary'."

Another member of the lunch club, Sadie McLellan, 61, said: "He's very genuine, very down to earth. We told him that Sighthill was not as bad as it was being made out. We are very friendly people in Sighthill."

Later, the princes spoke to a group of young people, including two Somalian refugees who have been living in Britain for two years.

William chatted to Sami Omar, 15, and Mohammed Salim, 12, about music.

After learning they were fans of break dancing, the prince was asked if he would like to see them perform.

The princes departed after about an hour for further engagements in central Scotland.

See also:

20 Sep 01 | Scotland
Students urged to show 'Willpower'
20 Aug 01 | Scotland
Prince boosts university's draw
18 Sep 01 | Scotland
Student prince misses freshers fun
31 Jan 01 | Scotland
William 'guards' request more cash
28 Jan 01 | Scotland
Students warned over William leaks
18 Aug 00 | UK
William: The student Prince
17 Aug 00 | Education
Prince William makes the grade
21 Sep 01 | UK Politics
UK foreign secretary to visit Iran
21 Sep 01 | Scotland
No food at the inn for prince
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