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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spend a second day in Singapore

12th September 2012

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have donned wrap-around safety goggles for a visit to a Rolls-Royce jet engine factory and took one of them for a spin.

The test facility at the huge open-plan plant began to rumble as the Trent 1000 engine, built for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane, sprang to life and began to whine and after a few moments The Duchess slowly brought it back to a stop.

The Duchess asked the test engineer: "Did that sound OK?" and he replied: "That was perfect, nothing wrong with that test."

Her Royal Highness noticed some limit had been set on how far she could test the engine and when the engineer confirmed there was one, she asked, to laughter from other guests in the room: "So I wouldn't break (it)," which prompted the Duke to joke: "Try not to break any engines."

Hundreds of staff had gathered to cheer The Duke and Duchess who were celebrating the British success story that is Rolls-Royce.

In a speech The Duke said: "Here is cutting-edge aerospace technology developed by one of the United Kingdom's great global companies.

"I know that Rolls-Royce sets as its standard that it should be 'Trusted To Deliver Excellence'. There can be no doubt that Seletar will deliver exactly that."

Before leaving The Duchess was given the task of fitting the last of 24 fan blades to a Trent 900 engine. As she pushed a lever the titanium blade slotted home and she turned to The Duke and Mark King, president of civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, and pumped the air with her fist and smiled.

As Their Royal Highnesses left they accepted a posy of flowers from Maeve Low, aged five, who was picked to make the presentation by the Make-A-Wish Foundation after she was given the all-clear from lymphoma.

The Duke and Duchess bent down to talk to the little girl, dressed in a bright pink dress and toy tiara, who was described as "princess mad" by her mother, Joanne Low, 38, a teacher from Singapore.

Their Royal Highnesses spent a few minutes talking to the tongue-tied youngster who could only smile, but she did present them with some gifts - magic wands, a painting showing The Duke and Duchess with Maeve's family and a cut-out photograph of the royal couple.

The Duke and Duchess posed for a photograph with their admirer before leaving to tour a housing project in Singapore.

Later Their Royal Highnesses visited Queenstown, the first satellite town in Singapore which was, appropriately, named after The Queen to mark her coronation in 1953.

Located in the south-western part of the island-state, around five miles from the city, it resembles an English housing estate, but with manicured lawns and no graffiti

Less than 40 years ago it was a large swampy area inhabited by a few hundred people in huts who lived by cultivating fruit and rearing poultry.

Now it is a self-sufficient town with more than 84,000 people living in 30,200 apartments thanks to a major building project by the Housing Development Board (HDB).

The board was set up in the 1960s in the midst of a housing crisis, when many were living in unhygienic slums and crowded squatter settlements.

Within 10 years, the issue had been almost wholly resolved thanks to an approach of employing a sole agency which could use a seamless approach to the issue with the political and financial backing of the government.

Today there are 23 towns like Queenstown across the island and Singapore is often touted as a model for other countries to follow.

The couple arrived to a whirr of noise and colour as they were greeted by a traditional lion dance - featuring five dancers inside a brilliant orange costume - to represent Singapore's Chinese community. A royal aide said it was a traditional welcome and message of good luck.

The Duke and Duchess walked around the estate's gardens and play areas, stopping briefly to watch a group of elderly residents doing t'ai chi, and received a tumultuous welcome from thousands of residents waving Union flags and Diamond Jubilee tea towels.

Her Royal Highness accepted armfuls of flowers and looked overwhelmed at the reception, while The Duke shook dozens of outstretched hands.

In the centre of the area was a playground and a number of outdoor gym machines on which pensioners were exercising.

The Duke approached one woman in her 70s and told her through a translator: "You are looking great. How much do you exercise? An hour a day? That is fantastic, you must have big arms and legs. Very fit - awesome."

The couple were then guided to watch a group of children from Queenstown Secondary School playing a game of chapteh, a traditional Malay pastime, often played by children but also adults, in which they kick a small flat-bottomed weight attached to a feather, for fun and to improve co-ordination.

His Royal Highness looked intrigued and did not hesitate to have a go, striking the feathered weight perfectly first time.

Afterwards local MP Chia Shi-Lu said: "It can take two to three years of practice to be able to hit it with your foot correctly but he did it straight away - and managed to strike all three strokes. That is very impressive."

Their Royal Highnesses also watched a group of youngsters playing a game of five stones, and were given a set of stones themselves to take back, as well as a demonstration of silat, a Malaysian martial art like kung fu.

As they left The Duchess, who had changed for the visit into a pretty patterned silk dress by Singapore fashion brand Raoul, bent down to greet a little Indian girl who had a posy of orchids for her.

Five-year-old Brinda Vijapur said afterwards that The Duchess had complimented her on her dress: "She said it looked pretty."

The Duke and Duchess met a host of Paralympic athletes at the High Commissioner's residence in Singapore during an evening reception.

Laurentia Tan, 33, who has cerebral palsy and landed a silver and bronze medal in the dressage at London 2012.

Congratulating Laurentia on her medal-winning exploits, he added: "We are very, very proud."

The paralympian's mother, Jennie, who was born in Singapore but now lives in London, said: "It is the icing on the cake of a wonderful year for my daughter.

"Laurentia had a rabbit at school - and they named it William after the prince.

"She met Princess Diana when she came in to meet students at Knollmead Primary School in Tulworth (Surrey).

"It's been wonderful. And Kate looked absolutely stunning."