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Duchess of Cambridge opens hospice with 'army of little helpers'

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image captionCatherine has been patron of the East Anglian Children's Hospices since 2012

The Duchess of Cambridge officially opened a new hospice with help from an "army of little helpers".

Catherine, who is royal patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (Each), visited the charity's new hospice in Framingham Earl in Norfolk.

The charity was one of the first she became patron of after her marriage to the Duke of Cambridge in 2011.

The duchess praised the "wonderful charity" for putting family at the heart of its work.

Four children, who she dubbed her "army of little helpers", joined her to unveil a plaque.

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image captionFour children helped the duchess unveil a plaque

Each cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk and supports their families.

Its new hospice was built following a five-year public appeal to raise £10 million and it welcomed its first child to receive care in September.

The duchess was greeted by schoolchildren and presented with a posy by three-year-old Stanley Harrold, who has a rare chromosomal disorder.

Speaking afterwards, his father Joe Harrold, of Norwich, said: "I don't know what I expected, but she was just really nice, really empathetic, just a happy soul."

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image captionThe Duchess of Cambridge met with children and parents at the opening of the new hospice in Norfolk

She also spoke to the parents of 10-year-old Isabella Alford, from Thetford, who has a rare progressive neurological genetic condition.

Her mother Deborah Alford, 44, said Isabella's health had deteriorated in the last 18 months, meaning she now struggles with breathing when sitting in a wheelchair and must lie on a bed instead.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe duchess praised the charity for their "wonderful" work

Isabella's condition means she can only see directly in front of her. Her parents said the duchess knelt to eye level and made eye contact with her.

"Quite a lot of people have always called Isabella a princess, so we said it's been really special for our princess to meet a princess," her mother Deborah Alford said.

Related Topics

  • UK Royal Family
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

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  • Duchess of Cambridge visits Children's Hospice