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The Duchess of Cambridge gets a Royal welcome in Holt at EACH store

PUBLISHED: 10:39 19 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:39 19 March 2016

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens the new EACH charity shop in Holt, Norfolk.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens the new EACH charity shop in Holt, Norfolk. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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An 11-year-old girl stole the show as she took the Duchess of Cambridge on an impromptu tour of the new EACH charity shop in Holt on Friday morning.

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens the new EACH charity shop in Holt, Norfolk.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherHRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens the new EACH charity shop in Holt, Norfolk. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Duchess, who is the Royal Patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), performed the opening ceremony at the new shop on Station Road, by cutting a ribbon with the help of two families receiving care and support from EACH.

Before the ribbon cutting, The Duchess received a tour of the shop, meeting a number of staff, families and supporters, including seven EACH shop volunteers with a combined service of more than 130 years.

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to wellwishers after opening the store. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duchess of Cambridge talks to wellwishers after opening the store. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

She met Rebekah Hughes, who has the rare Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, inside the shop.

After asking what her favourite item was, Kate was led by the hand by Rebekah to a display of handbags and jewellery.

Rebekah explained that her favourite item was a silver Gant handbag, to which Kate replied: “We better put a reserved sticker on that.”

The girl then asked Kate which her favourite was and Kate chose a £1 penguin brooch.

The Duchess of Cambridge talks to wellwishers as she arrives to open a new charity shop for the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), in Holt. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duchess of Cambridge talks to wellwishers as she arrives to open a new charity shop for the East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), in Holt. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

She added: “There are so many wonderful things.”

Kate then helped Rebekah put a bracelet on her watching mother, Annabel Hughes, 44, from Aylsham.

The Duchess of Cambridge cuts a ribbon to officially open the EACH shop. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duchess of Cambridge cuts a ribbon to officially open the EACH shop. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Mrs Hughes said: “I’ll have to buy her the handbag now or I won’t hear the end of it.

“I think Kate got off lightly - Rebekah has a way of taking over and she’s lucky she didn’t have her trying on outfits in the changing room.

The Duchess of Cambridge departs after opening a new charity shop for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), in Holt, Norfolk. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duchess of Cambridge departs after opening a new charity shop for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), in Holt, Norfolk. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

“She was brilliant with Rebekah and it was a really special moment.”

Afterwards Kate selected a book, Fireman Sam’s Favourite Tales, as a present for Prince George and a Beatrix Potter Tom Kitten figurine for Princess Charlotte.

The Duchess of Cambridge greets wellwishers in Holt. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duchess of Cambridge greets wellwishers in Holt. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

She explained Fireman Sam was George’s favourite character as she handed over £10 in cash for the gifts.

Sarah Throssell, who served her, said: “She seemed really pleased with the finds.”

The Duchess of Cambridge is given a bunch of flowers after opening the charity shop. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireThe Duchess of Cambridge is given a bunch of flowers after opening the charity shop. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Duchess enjoyed her visit to Holt so much she promised to bring her husband, Prince William, with her next time.

Her Royal Highness made the revelation while greeting crowds who turned out to meet her this morning.

Customers queue to enter after the new EACH store. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireCustomers queue to enter after the new EACH store. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Local support worker Helen Jacobs-McGee took wheelchair-bound Jill Carrette along to catch a glimpse of the Duchess and were thrust to the front of the crowd after Jill broke down in tears when photographers blocked her view.

“We can’t believe we got to meet her,” Mrs Jacobs-McGee said. “All the cameras were coming in and she was saying: ‘You are all getting in my way, I can’t see’ and she started crying.

“She (the Duchess) asked if she was okay and Jill asked her how her husband and children were and she said: ‘Next time I’ll bring William with me’.”

Holt will be the 21st shop in EACH’s retail portfolio and forms part of ambitious plans to expand their network of shops over the coming years.

More than 700 children, young people and family members are currently receiving care and support at EACH, including over 300 from EACH’s hospice at Quidenham in Norfolk. More than half of their care and support is delivered in the family home and community, including North Norfolk, in surroundings familiar and comfortable for the family.

Since becoming Royal Patron in 2012, The Duchess of Cambridge has played a vital role in raising awareness and understanding of children’s hospice services, across East Anglia and the rest of the UK.

Holt’s deputy mayor, Councillor Bryan Payne added: “People come from all over the country to shop in Holt, it has a lot of specialised shops, and I think the visit will be a boost for the town.”

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