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Prince William pays tribute to British public as he takes on new job

The Duke of Cambridge thanked charity volunteers amid the coronavirus crisis

Diane Shipley

Prince William shared some heartfelt words of gratitude with local volunteers in honour of his new role as patron of the National Emergencies Trust, which began on Easter Sunday. The Duke of Cambridge made calls to small charities in Yorkshire and Wales in order to thank those who volunteer for them for their hard work. The trust has raised millions of pounds with its coronavirus appeal, which is being distributed to local charities to help with valuable work in the community.

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WATCH: Prince William makes video call to small charities over Easter weekend

Last week, William spoke via video link to Jacky Crawford, head of service at Moorland Community Charity in the East Riding of Yorkshire, which runs a food bank and delivers hot meals on wheels. Jacky told him that the charity has seen a "really dramatic increase" in referrals since the outbreak of COVID-19 before saying: "There’s nothing like a crisis to bring you all together." The Prince agreed, responding: "I think Britain is at its best, weirdly, when we’re all in a crisis. That community spirit and community feel comes rushing back quicker than anything else."

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The Prince also chatted with Natalie Webster, who runs Dal Dy Dir, a community farm in Wales that was founded to support people with disabilities which has used the funding from the NET to distribute food parcels to vulnerable people nearby. William said: "Thank goodness you’re there, Natalie. It’s got to be reassuring for everyone when so much is changing around them to know that you’re still there and your team are still looking out for them. That little bit of reassurance goes a long way."

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Prince William spoke to Natalie Webster from Dal Dy Dir in Wales

Natalie replied: "We’ve really tried to encourage people to think about communities working together… We’re lucky in Wales, we have a really good community spirit." The Duke, whose father is the Prince of Wales, agreed, adding: "I’ve always felt that. The Welsh are always really good at coming together and looking after each other. You see that always in the rugby matches, there’s always a good Welsh national vibe going on there. I love it."

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Prince William spoke at the launch of the NET in November 2019, and in March launched its coronavirus appeal in partnership with the British Red Cross. Speaking about the Prince's patronage, chairman of the NET Lord Dannatt said: "After his steadfast support for the National Emergencies Trust from our launch last November through into this Coronavirus Appeal, all connected with the NET are delighted that The Duke of Cambridge has honoured our work by becoming our Patron for 2020.

"We look forward to working with him, and our partners in the UK Community Foundation network, to help communities across the country tackle the dramatic rise in food poverty as well as the many other increasingly pressing social issues arising from this crisis."

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