AS heir to the throne Prince Charles marks his 60th birthday today, the nation prepares to celebrate.

Charles attended a birthday party hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace yesterday, while the Duchess of Cornwall will host an informal bash tomorrow, with a performance by rocker Rod Stewart.

Prince Charles is no stranger to the two counties His first official visit to Worcester was in 1981, unveiling the Elgar statue before attending a concert of the composer’s music at Worcester Cathedral and later touring Worcester College for the Blind.

Previously, he joined members of the Ledbury Hunt in a “hush-hush”

Herefordshire visit in 1976 and flew a helicopter into Hereford to re-open the blind college in 1979.

Earlier that year Charles also dropped in on the Malvern Festival and saw a model of the Elgar statue he would unveil in Worcester two years later. He became patron of the Elgar Foundation in 1975.

In 1985, he visited Hereford Cathedral and was later presented with an Easter rabbit for his youngest son Prince Harry.

Famed for his support of organic farming, he visited a leading example of organic production at Hill Top Farm, Broadway, in 1989.

He dropped in on his tenants at Johnson’s Dairy at Cradley, near Malvern, which is part of his estate the Duchy of Cornwall, in 1992.

He donned protective ear-muffs during a firearms demonstration at West Mercia police’s training school at its Hindlip headquarters in 1995.

Charles and Camilla enjoyed a visit to Worcester and Upton-upon-Severn – which Charles toured in 2007, in June this year.

The Prince settled a 350-year-old debt with Worcester's Clothiers Company run up by King Charles II.

He is becoming a frequent visitor – it was the third time Prince Charles and The Duchess had visited Worcestershire this year.

The Prince's Trust in Worcestershire

THE Prince of Wales’ flagship charity work through the Prince’s Trust has provided a vital kickstart for young people and adults in Worcestershire seeking ‘a last chance’ break.

The trust was formed by the Prince in 1976 to give disadvantaged young people a legup into work, education or training.

Alex Lamb, who oversaw youth and business projects in Worcestershire and Herefordshire now looks after the trust’s projects in the West Midlands.

He said: “The Prince saw there was a gap and said is there something my charity can do to help, and that’s how it started.”

Mr Lamb said the trust helped between 350 and 400 people each year across the two counties.

The charity runs several practical courses including XL clubs for 14 to 16-year-olds who skip school or are under achieving and help with business start-ups.

Ian Butler, aged 26, of Holywell Road, Malvern, was helped by the trust to set up his own photography business after he had been made redundant from his job.

He said: “Without the financial support I would not have been able to set up on my own. “The trust has given me the chance to buy my own equipment for my business, which has been running for the past three months.”