It’s g’day and goodbye from Harry

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Prince Harry has thanked the people of Australia on a walkabout in the shadow of the famous Sydney Opera House.

Hundreds gathered at the Sydney Opera House to greet Harry, who has come to the end of a month-long attachment with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

He greeted schoolchildren and shook hands with people at the opera house.

Kensington Palace tweeted: “Prince Harry thanks the Australian public for the warm welcome during his stay.”

During the day, the Prince will also meet Lieutenant Ali Spearing, a Royal Engineers Officer who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2011 and is undergoing pioneering treatment in Australia to fit prosthetic limbs.

While Harry has been away, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, was born on May 2.

Harry, who moved down to fifth in line to the throne following the baby’s arrival, described his niece as “absolutely beautiful” and said he could not wait to meet her.

While in Australia, Harry – an Army captain who is leaving the forces in June – has spent time training on helicopter simulators at barracks in Sydney, trained with the Special Air Service in Perth, and in Darwin he worked with members of Norforce, the mostly indigenous unit which patrols northern Australia.

Harry’s previous experience serving with Australian troops was during his time in Afghanistan, and on a charity trek to the South Pole.

Before meeting the crowds gathered near Sydney Opera House, the Prince took part in a military exercise in Sydney Harbour.

Among those lining up to meet Harry was Graham Smyth, who took part in the Queen’s visit to Australia in 1954 as a flag-waving six-year-old, according to the Australian Associated Press.

He told the agency the opportunity to see the Prince in person was “too good to pass up”.

He will travel to Macquarie University Hospital in New South Wales to meet Lt Spearing, a 31-year-old British soldier who lost both of his legs above the knee in an IED explosion.

The officer has travelled across the world to a clinic at the hospital to receive pioneering treatment from Associate Professor Munjed Al Muderis, a leading orthopaedic hip and knee surgeon and osseointegration specialist – where an implant is inserted into an amputee’s limb.

Lt Spearing has had implants inserted into his limbs and, once these had integrated with the bone, robotic legs were fitted via the implants and he is now undergoing daily physiotherapy.

Macquarie University Hospital chief executive officer Carol Bryant said the team was thrilled by the royal visit.

She added: “We’re very proud of the groundbreaking work being carried by Associate Professor Al Muderis. Our approach to treatment is to combine the best available knowledge and expertise to ensure patients like Lt Spearing receive the best possible treatment, compassion, support and care.”

On Saturday Harry will begin an eight-day tour of New Zealand.

Lt Spearing said he was honoured Harry was making the trip to visit him, t he Australian Associated Press said .

Asked if he was nervous ahead of Harry’s visit, he told Australia’s ABC Radio: “A little (nervous), we have actually met a couple of times before, so it’s not as bad as the first time.”

Of attending a rehabilitation centre, Lt Spearing said: “It’s actually quite nice, because you can sort of compare to each other and you see that you’re not as bad as other people.”

But due to the nature of his injuries, traditional prosthetics proved ineffective.

“Then I heard about this operation that’s being done over in Sydney. It’s worked out really well,” he said.

His colleague had gone from struggling to walk to jogging back into the rehab centre.

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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