THE PRINCE of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited a Tottenham emergency centre today to meet victims of last week's riots and volunteers in the relief effort.

Prince Charles and wife Camilla spent the afternoon at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre in Philip Lane and met Salvation Army volunteers, as well as some of the 54 families left homeless after fires ripped through flats in High Road last Saturday night.

The centre is being used as a special community assistance hub to deal with donations from members of the public and has helped more than 200 people with housing and business advice since it opened.

One of them, budding artist Vina Andersson, described how her flat above the Post Office building was destroyed as she watched on television.

She told Camilla: “We have lost everything – the first thing we saw was on the news.

“I was going to go to university to do illustration in September, but now I don't know if I'll be able to.

“The art equipment is quite expensive and I don't have any money left.”

The prince praised volunteers who are sorting through a mountain of donated clothes, books, toys and toiletries from people all over the country to get help to those who need assistance.

More than £16,000 has also been donated to the Tottenham Fund which was set up by Haringey Council at the end of last week The royal couple – who said they had wanted to come to Tottenham immediately after the violence but were advised against it – also spoke to emergency workers who worked through the night of the riots.

Prince Charles met Sergeant Neil Gammon, and praised his team of seven officers who worked a mammoth 19-hour shift last Saturday battling rioters and protecting buildings, telling him “it was the worst level of violence I've seen in London”.

Sgt Gammon said: “We were the first public order team on the scene – we've faced student riots but nothing like that before.

“We were pelted with bricks and bottles, but thankfully nobody was hurt.”

Crowds of children who were using the centre to play sports followed the couple as they made their way around during the hour-long visit.