PRINCE Edward laughed and joked with school pupils from all over Oxfordshire when he visited Larkmead School in Abingdon.

He found out how the schools were taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and saw ten Larkmead pupils get their bronze awards.

The Earl of Wessex spoke to students from a number of schools, including St Helen and St Katharine's School, in Abingdon, Lord Williams's School, from Thame, and Abingdon School.

They all had exhibition tables or video screens to show Prince Edward what had been achieved in the scheme and to describe the skills gained through contact with the award scheme.

He watched as pupils from Northfield School, in Blackbird Leys, including Jacob Powney, 15, David Carron, 14, and James Boyles, 15, demonstrated emergency first aid skills.

Pupils Ashley Cooper, 14, and Luke Pill, 16, also demonstrated using different sorts of bandages.

Ashley said: "He watched us and was very nice and was interested in what we were doing."

Laura Chambers, 14, and Alex Ballantine, 15, both gained their bronze and are now going for silver. They explained the skills they had to perfect to get their awards.

"He was nice and seemed really interested in us," said Laura.

On the visit he was accompanied by Hugo Brunner, Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire County Council chairman Liz Brighouse.

Larkmead head Chris Harris said: "We are delighted at the way this visit has gone. Prince Edward has been delightfully informal and talked to just about everyone from all the schools.

"It is a feather in our cap, showing we can host a county-wide event like this involving state and independent schools and I am very pleased with the whole thing."

Earlier in the day, The Earl of Wessex made a visit to Oxford Science Park-based Amey, which supports youngsters taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.