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Prince Charles in Gozo

Prince Charles signing the visitors’ book at Lourdes Home, Għajnsielem as Arthur Barbaro-Sant and his son Giovanni, 5, look on.Prince Charles signing the visitors’ book at Lourdes Home, Għajnsielem as Arthur Barbaro-Sant and his son Giovanni, 5, look on.

The article ‘Prince Charles tours Gozo’ carried (July 6), recounting his informal tour to Gozo accompanied by the then Governor General, Sir Maurice Dorman and other personalities brought to my mind happy memories of this visit of years ago.

At the time, my late husband, Arthur, and myself and others were involved in philanthropic work at the Lourdes Home, run by the Dominican Sisters. At the time, US navy vessels visited Malta from time to time and helped various institutions but nothing ever reached Gozo. My husband spoke to the American Ambassador about the possibility of having material help extended also to Gozo. It was an immediate yes from the American Embassy.

It was really a godsend as, forthwith, visiting US navy vessels donated food, stationery, baby nappies, wood, paint, anything imaginable. The sailors painted most rooms and corridors and even set up a playground for the resident children of the home, which hosted 40 children of different ages.

On one of our regular visits to Gozo, we met Anton Tabone, president of the then Gozo Civic Council, who informed my husband of a possible visit to Gozo by the Prince of Wales and my husband said he should perhaps also go to Lourdes Home. When we informed the Mother Superior, Celine Hili, and the rest of the community, they were overjoyed.

Prince Charles visited Gozo on July 5, 1968. The following day, the Times of Malta reported: “Perhaps the most excited group of people in Gozo yesterday were the Dominican nuns of Lourdes Home, Għajnsielem, where Prince Charles spent considerable time touring the home for children.”

The prince greeted the nuns individually and met the children too.

Accompanying him was Tabone and Mgr Nicholas Cauchi who at the time was still Apostolic Administrator for Gozo. Prince Charles also signed the visitors’ book.

It was a day all of us present still cherish.

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