Prince Harry Visits Launchpad

Prince Harry delighted the residents of Launchpad’s Avondale House on the Byker Estate when he visited on 25 February 2015. He was introduced to most of the residents and exchanged stories about life in and out of the services with them in a humorous and sensitive way.


 He was excited by tales of residents helping the community by refurbishing an old lady’s flat after it had been damaged; Janice Downes was a regular volunteer in Avondale House and the residents had taken her to their hearts. The veterans have also recently refurbished a dilapidated childrens’ drop in centre run by the local St Michael’s Church and made a huge improvement. The children were thrilled with the Launchpad residents’ work and most grateful for the support that had been obtained from retailers to re-equip the centre too.


Prince Harry also heard from 91-year-old veteran, Fred Jewett, of how Launchpad had hosted Russian veterans of the arctic convoys in Avondale House last Christmas Day. Fred told the Prince of the wonderful work of Launchpad in Newcastle; help which he said wasn’t available when he left the Forces after WW2.


Prince Harry met the Chair and Chief Executive of the Byker Community Trust, who have been partners in developing Avondale House. Without their support and advice, Launchpad would probably never have started.


Wearing a Launchpad ‘staff’ fleece, which he had been presented by the Assistant Manager, Lofty Rames, Prince Harry then talked animatedly with members of the Byker Estate who had gathered outside Avondale House.


 Prince Harry’s visit made it an exciting and motivating day on the Byker Estate.