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5 January 2012, 00:01
It's been revealed The Duchess of Cambridge has become Royal Patron of East Anglia Children's Hospice.
The charity supports families and cares for children with life-threatening illnesses across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Kate [pictured - above right] visited the Hospice's HQ in Milton, near Cambridge, privately in November last year, and spent almost four hours meeting families, children and staff.
Grant Clemence, a father who was supported by East Anglia Children's Hospice (EACH) after the death of his daughter Fleur, met Kate at the hospice, along with his wife Charlotte, and described her involvement as “fantastic news” and “a great boost to EACH”.
He added “The Duchess was really interested in our story and experiences with EACH.
She showed genuine interest to all the families and staff she met.”
EACH did not apply for patronage, but was personally chosen by The Duchess, who spent the months before Christmas researching charities she would like to be involved with.
Chief Executive Graham Butland said the charity was “honoured and extremely proud” to have the Duchess as Royal Patron. “Having our work recognized in this way is not only a tribute to our staff and supporters, but a huge boost for the children, young people and families receiving our care and support”.
Kate has expressed an interest in being an active Patron, rather than merely a figurehead.
Since her marriage to Prince William, she has been heavily involved with charity work, and is said to have asked guests to simply donate to charity rather than buy her expensive gifts for her 30th birthday on Monday.
The couple also requested donations to charity as wedding gifts.
Despite their title, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have not yet publicly visited the city. “We expect a visit at some point this year” said Graham Butland.
The Duchess has also accepted three other honorary positions today: Patron of Action on Addiction, Patron of The Art Room and Patron of the National Portrait Gallery.