The Duchess of Cambridge has made private visits to families, supported by one of her first royal patronages, HELLO! has learned. Kate, 37, opened East Anglia's Children’s Hospices' new centre The Nook in Framingham Earl, Norfolk, on Friday, following a £10m appeal she helped to launch in 2014. The Duchess, who became patron of EACH in 2012, met with families and staff members during a reception.
WATCH: Kate opens EACH's new hospice The Nook, in Norfolk
EACH's outgoing chief executive Graham Butland tells HELLO!: "The Duchess is just enormously enthusiastic with the families, she emphasises with them. To know someone like the Duchess is there supporting the cause, is just tremendous. She's also made private visits to the hospice, she's visited at least a couple of families in their own homes, all without publicity. Throughout the building of The Nook, she was very keen to have regular updates."
Naomi Wright’s son Rupert, who turns five on Sunday, is one of the children, who has received support from EACH. He has severe mucopolysaccharidosis type II, more commonly known as Hunter syndrome, which has an impact on everything from his brain to his bones and internal organs. She tells HELLO! how much the Duchess' visit to The Nook means to the families.
The Duchess chats to children as she opens the new hospice
"I think what is actually really special is she spent so much time here with the families, going around speaking to everybody. She's a mum herself, you get that sense that she does understand, she's not doing it because she has to, I think she really wants to. You get that impression of her when she speaks to you, that this is something that means a lot to her, meeting us families," she says.
Naomi tells HELLO! that the Duchess gave her a hug, after she became emotional while talking to her about Rupert. She says: "At the end when she left, she gave me a little hug and it’s simple things like that, that make you realise she's a very special lady."
The Duchess has been Patron of EACH since 2012
Mum-of-three Kate paid a visit to the charity's previous hospice in Quidenham in January 2017, to receive an update on the appeal. EACH was one of Kate's first four patronages she took on in 2012 and it’s clear from her speech that she holds the organisation very close to her.
At the reception, the Duchess, wearing a purple Oscar de la Renta skirt suit, said: "EACH was one of the very first charities that I decided to become Patron of after my marriage. Whilst a lot has changed since then, my commitment and support for this wonderful organisation and the work that you do has not."
During the official opening of its hospice The Treehouse in Ipswich in 2012, Kate made her first public speech and has carried out several engagements with the charity since.
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