After spending the morning in Edinburgh, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Batley. The historic market and mill town in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, was the third stop of The Royal Train Tour in which Prince William and Duchess Catherine met with the people, communities and organizations to thank them for their generosity during the pandemic.
The destination in Batley was Batley Community Centre where The Duke and Duchess met volunteers from Royal Voluntary Service who have supported elderly members of their community throughout the COVID-19 by sending cards, having regular phone calls and dropping off shopping, food bags and activity packs. Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest voluntary service organisations in Great Britain with volunteers who give their skills, experience, energy and time to provide practical help, companionship and support to people in need in hospitals, at home and in the community.
The Duchess of Cambridge met with 85-year-old full-time carer Len Gardner with whom she was having a telephonic conversation when she volunteered with Royal Voluntary Service. The Duchess of Cambridge volunteered through NHS Volunteer Responder Check In And Chat scheme during the first lockdown. Catherine and William met with Len and his wife and exchanged gifts. Len showed The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge around the community.
Founded in 1938 as WVS, the charity mobilised over 1 million volunteers to help with almost every aspect of wartime life. At present, Royal Voluntary Service mobilises volunteers to support those in need, in hospital and in the community. It is one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with 200 volunteer-run shops, cafés and trolley services providing tea and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors. If you are in the UK and would like to be a volunteer at Royal Voluntary Service click here.
From Sun’s report,
Kate, 38, and Len were connected earlier in the year by the Royal Voluntary Service, which The Sun has partnered with this year for our Christmas Together appeal to tackle loneliness. During two lengthy conversations during the first lockdown, Kate chatted away to her new friend about making pasta and taking her children to watch sheep shearing.
Len, from Batley, West Yorks, said: “Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be talking on the phone to the future Queen of England. I will treasure our conversations for the rest of my life. Those calls helped me because they gave me something to look forward to.”
Len, who has bladder cancer and has been having radio-therapy and last week had an operation, is a carer for his wife Shirley, 84, who has Alzheimer’s.
Read more about it here on Yesterday’s post.
The next stop was Manchester. Prince William and Catherine visited FareShare – A Charity fighting hunger and food waste by redistributing good quality in-date surplus food to frontline charities across the UK. FareShare is the UK’s longest-running food redistribution charity.
2019 marks FareShare’s 25-year anniversary of fighting hunger and food waste. The biggest charitable operation of its kind in the UK, in the 25 years since launching FareShare has provided food equivalent to 236.8 million meal. FareShare redistributes surplus food from food businesses to 11,000 charities and community groups across the UK – including school breakfast clubs, community centres, homeless shelters and food banks.
During the first national lockdown, Fareshare was one of the biggest sources of food for many families in Manchester. William and Catherine also met representatives from two charities who receive food from FareShare Greater Manchester and heard about the impact it had on the vulnerable families that they support.
At Fareshare, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talked to the staff and volunteers about how FareShare adapted its operations to ensure it could continue to support families throughout the pandemic.
The Duke and Duchess watched a special performance by Wayne Ellington and Manchester Inspirational Voices, presented by Band on the Wall, a local independent music venue which has been supported during COVID-19 by the Government’s Culture Recovery Funds. Supporting the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund was a big part of the tour.
It is wonderful news that Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been able to visit Manchester today to see the positive impact that culture has on our communities. Throughout the pandemic, organisations across the country have stepped up to support those in need and our choirs, bands, actors, filmmakers, museums – and the technical crews that support them – are no different.
Cultural and heritage organisations across the country have brought us joy and happiness online, on television and on our mobile phones by creating cultural content we can enjoy safely. Today’s visit is a tribute to the hard work of those in the Manchester Inspirational Voices choir and Band on the Wall – and all those working in the culture sector in the region. I am delighted that we have been able to help them to reopen when it is safe to do so and develop plans for culture and music events next year through our Culture Recovery Fund.
In the city came the first speech of the tour. Prince William addressed the volunteers and staff and said,
Catherine and I felt that it was extremely important to visit just some of the heroes that have emerged this year to thank you for all that you have done.
Whether that’s transport workers, paramedics, school teachers or indeed staff and volunteers like those of you online across the FareShare network or here in Manchester tonight. You are the people that have not only kept our country going but have also helped warm all our hearts by showing us the very best of human nature.
Text of The Duke’s full speech was shared by Victoria Arbiter on Twitter.
A video of the day.
Crafted from a luxurious wool-rich fabric, Bianca is a timeless layer expertly tailored to a maxi silhouette and features burnished crested buttons and shoulder epaulettes. The £349 navy coat is currently on sale.
Underneath the coat, Catherine was wearing her white UFO top but when she arrived in Manchester she was wearing Troy London x Brora Fair Isle Jumper. Thanks to Palace_Avenue and MiddletonMaven on Twitter for the id.
She paired the jumper with her Jigsaw High Waisted Sport Luxe Trousers debuted in December 2018 when she and William visited Cyprus to meet the deployed military personnel.
The Duchess of Cambridge topped her trouser with her Anderson’s croc-effect Leather Belt.
She was wearing her Emmy London Josie Block Heel Pointed Shoe.
The Duchess of Cambridge debuted another handbag today. She was carrying Métier London Roma Bag. Thanks to Middleton Maven for the id.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s UFO pearl earrings has finally been identified. They are Simone Rocha Faux-pearl curb-chain earrings. Another fabulous id by lovely Middleton Maven on Twitter.
She was wearing her Adult Reusable cotton Blue Emma & Georgina Face Mask
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge intended to meet people from all walks of life who helped the country during the challenging period and during the day they did exactly that. There was NSH Staff, school teachers, volunteers, charities who worked hard during the pandemic.
The day was also full of Christmas vibes, gifts, music and dances. Tomorrow is going to be another busy day when the couple will be visiting Wales and conclude the tour at the Windsor Castle where they will be meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. We can expect a new group photo tomorrow.
I will leave you with this beautiful picture of Prince William and Duchess Catherine.