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Duchess of Cornwall returns to home county for special visit

Camilla grew up in Plumpton, East Sussex

Danielle Stacey

The Duchess of Cornwall made a touching in-person visit to her home county on Tuesday.

Camilla, 73, carried out a series of engagements in East Sussex on the UK's hottest day of the year so far.

The Duchess thanked volunteers at Fitzjohn's Foodbank in Lewes, East Sussex, telling them: "Thank goodness people like you are around."

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As she was shown around, Camilla expressed surprise that such an affluent town needed such a service.  

"Goodness, I'm very surprised, having lived here all my young life," she said. "I thought Lewes sounded an unusual place for a foodbank, but it just goes to show."

Fitzjohns Foodbank, based at Christ Church, is one of three independent food banks serving Lewes Town and the outlying villages. A team of volunteer drivers supply food and other household necessities on a weekly basis to around 40 households a week.

Between 15 and 25 per cent more people have been using the service during the pandemic, many of whom have lost their jobs.

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Camilla speaks with volunteers and staff at Fitzjohns Foodbank

Camilla told the volunteers it was a "treat" to be back in the area, having grown up in the village of Plumpton, just six miles away. 

She is the eldest child of the late Major Bruce Shand and his wife Rosalind. Her father owned a seven-bedroom property, The Laines, on the edge of Plumpton Village for 45 years.

The Grade II listed former rectory was put on the market for £3.15m by actor James Wilby in 2015. The estate features a paddock, a swimming pool and a tennis court, situated on 5.27 acres of land.

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The Duchess also visited Kamsons Pharmacy

Earlier in the day, the Duchess met representatives from Rail to Refuge, a collaboration between train operators and Women's Aid, which provides free rail tickets for those fleeing their homes from domestic abuse.  

Camilla praised former station manager Darren O'Brien for his "brilliant initiative" and said "we need more Darrens" when the pair met at London's Victoria station to highlight the scheme.

The Duchess also visited the headquarters of Kamsons Pharmacy in Uckfield, East Sussex, after travelling by train – thought to be the first rail journey a senior member of the monarchy has made this year.

Camilla hailed Britain's pharmacists as unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic as she toured the building.

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