Norfolk couple join Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for carol service

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet children as they leave following the Together At Christmas co

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet children at the Together At Christmas community carol service at Westminster Abbey in London. - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A Norfolk couple joined the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for carols in a service which will be broadcast on Christmas Eve.

Volunteers and families that have received care and support from East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) were among the 1,200-strong congregation at Westminster Abbey for the event on December 8.

The charity, of which the Duchess is patron, was invited to nominate some of its unsung heroes to join the service, which celebrated those who have done "incredible work" in their communities during the pandemic.

They included Brad and Debbie McLean, from Wymondham, who received bereavement counselling after son Stanley died when just 18 months old in 2012. 

Every year on Stanley's birthday, the couple raise money to pay for a day of care and support at EACH.

This year, a golf day in memory of Stanley raised £22,000 and in October Mr McLean ran the Cambridge Half Marathon, raising a further £1,300.

Kate carol service

Brad and Debbie McLean with sons Gus and Otis at the service at Westminster Abbey hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge - Credit: EACH

Over the years the family has raised over £65,000 for EACH. The couple were accompanied by their sons Gus, aged eight and five-year-old Otis.

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Mr McClean said: “It was very special – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Westminster Abbey is a remarkable building. Just being in a place steeped in so much history was incredible, let alone being part of the actual service.

“Christmas can be difficult for us but this was a lovely, happy experience to share as a family.”

In a poignant message, the Duchess of Cambridge said: "We have lost loved ones, seen our frontline workers placed under immeasurable pressure, and we have experienced heart-wrenching isolation from those we hold most dear.

"Alongside this, we have seen how communities have come together to support those most in need.

"And through our separation from others, we have been reminded just how powerful human connection is to us all."

The Duchess's Together at Christmas service in is being broadcast on ITV on Christmas Eve (7.30pm), having been switched from the BBC in the fallout over a BBC Two documentary about the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

Prince William was also in attendance. Leona Lewis and Ellie Goulding both sung and there was a special reading by TV presenter Kate Garraway.

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