'A fitting tribute': Formerly homeless man meets The Duchess of Cornwall

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall with Lee from Emmaus

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall with Lee from Emmaus. - Credit: Jake Sugden

Chatting with the Duchess of Cornwall in the stunning surroundings of Clarence House is a world away from how life used to be for Lee Driver.

But that's exactly what he had the chance to do earlier this month after attending a special celebration lunch, having been supported by Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney.

He spoke to the Duchess about his seven years on the streets, and how he has bounced back.

He was one of 30 people supported by Emmaus communities around the UK to attend the event, which was held to celebrate 30 years since Emmaus was established in the UK.

Guests from Emmaus with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall and Emmaus UK President Terry Waite

Guests from Emmaus with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall and Emmaus UK President Terry Waite. - Credit: Jake Sugden

Mr Driver spoke to the Duchess - a patron of Emmaus UK - about his experiences of homelessness, and how Emmaus has helped him to rebuild his life.

With Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney established in 2011, its community house in Ditchingham is home to up to 32 formerly homeless people, known as companions.

All Emmaus companions work in the charity’s social enterprises in Ditchingham and Norwich.

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Mr Driver joined Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney after sleeping rough for seven years, and during his time at Emmaus, he has found the space and stability he needs to start rebuilding his life.

Lee Driver said: “It was brilliant to attend this event at Clarence House and meet Her Royal Highness.

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall cutting the cake marking the 30th anniversary of Emmaus in the UK

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall cutting the cake marking the 30th anniversary of Emmaus in the UK. - Credit: Jake Sugden

"I spoke to her about my time at Emmaus and what a difference it has made to my life.

"It was great to see her chatting to everyone in such a relaxed way, and to meet other people from Emmaus communities around the UK.”

Charlotte Talbott, chief executive officer of Emmaus UK, said: “We are extremely grateful to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and the staff at Clarence House for hosting a fantastic 30 year celebration event.

"Countless lives have been transformed in Emmaus communities and groups over the past 30 years and it was important to be able to bring some of those people together, along with their guests, to mark this important point in our history.

"It was a great day and a fitting tribute, and I look forward to seeing Emmaus reach even more people over the next 30 years!”

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