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King Charles has met schoolchildren learning about sustainable farming at the opening of a rural skills centre on the estate of a stately home he helped save.

The MacRobert Farming and Rural Skills Centre, on the Dumfries House estate in East Ayrshire, is intended to make the agricultural sector more accessible to those with no connection to it including school leavers, job hunters and secondary school pupils.

The multimillion-pound centre, in planning since 2019, will give students practical training on either day visits or residential courses, as well as training farmers on improving sustainability.

Charles met students taking part in a soil-testing workshop and watched them examine samples under microscopes.

The King met pupils, some of whom are involved in a Prince’s Foundation course, Food For The Future, designed to reduce food waste and to teach pupils about where food comes from.

He asked students “are you enjoying it?” and “you all like being outside?”, and about their relationship with farming.

Marcel Emmery, 15, from Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, has no connection with farming but is enjoying learning new skills.

He and his friends, from an urban seaside town, are taking part in Food For The Future.

Marcel said: “It was exciting meeting the King. He was really interested in the project and asked us lots of questions.

“I’m not from a farming family but I found it really interesting coming here.”

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