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Home Maidstone News Article
A cheeky teenager has persuaded Prince Charles to pose for a selfie with him on a visit to flood-hit Yalding today.
Joseph Wilson, of Oast Court, was dared by his friends to take the mobile phone snap with the future monarch, who "chuckled to himself".
The 17-year-old, who was invited to meet the first in line to the throne after rescuing several people in his canoe, said the prince was "cool with it".
Earlier this month, actress Joan Collins told how she failed to convince the Prince to pose for a star-studded selfie with celebrities including Sir Ben Kingsley, Jeremy Irons and Tess Daly.
But Joseph said: "He just congratulated us on our role in the floods and thanked us for being so helpful to everyone.
"He talked about how it's really good to have organisations like the Sea Scouts and the Cadets to encourage people to learn these skills, which can prove invaluable if the situation demands it.
"And then I asked him for a photo. He took it very well. He chuckled to himself and then I took the photo and he just started laughing. He was cool with it.
"I need to show my friends because they dared me to take the photo, so it's proof I don't back out of a dare."
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited the village devastated by the worst flooding in decades this morning.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met residents affected by the disaster at St Peter's and St Paul's Church in the High Street.
Homes are still lying empty and undergoing refurbishment after the river broke its banks on Christmas Eve, causing widespread damage.
Joseph and his sister Laura were among those who, along with their father, rescued a total of 19 stricken residents.
They used a canoe to ferry stranded neighbours and their pets to safety when the village became submerged on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Joseph said: "When the village was flooded, I went out with my dad and we were rescuing people out of their houses.
"We got a phone call from one of my dad's friends asking if he could be rescued. We went down in a boat, got him out and took him back to our house. We could paddle all the way back from his house to our house because it was so flooded.
"But when we got there we realised loads of people had stayed in their houses overnight and were stranded.
"So we took back two boats and started getting people out of their houses to safety."
Last month, survival expert Bear Grylls named members of Yalding Scout Group his heroes of the year.
The organisation's chief Scout, who is famed for the Born Survivor TV series, praised the group following their efforts when the village was struck by severe flooding.
Mr Grylls said: "When all that horrific flooding was taking place, what were they doing?
"They were out there, in their canoes, saving lives, helping people and making a difference. That's what makes them my Scouting heroes."
Residents lined the streets to greet their royal guests today - including children from Twyford Preschool and Yalding Primary.
HRH Prince Charles and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to Yalding on Wednesday, March 19.
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Prime Minister David Cameron is among the high profile visitors who have visited the village since the floods.
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