Wednesday, 24 August 2016

William and Kate in Luton

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge cut a cake marking the 25th anniversary of Keech Hospice in Luton during a day of engagements in the town
(photo Keech Hospice Twitter)

The new school term is just days away and it was back to normal for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they carried out their first set of engagements after several weeks of summer holidays. William and Kate were in Luton where they visited a youth project, an electric motors company and a hospice marking 25 years of caring for people with life limiting conditions. The couple focused on mental health, the economy and the hospice movement - all causes close to their hearts.

The day began at Youthscape, an organisation set up in 1993 to offer practical help to young people going through tough times.  It says it puts the 'positive transformation of young people' at the heart of everything it does and it's recently expanded to be able to offer more projects and support networks.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge heard about its work from staff and teenagers themselves. They met young people who told them how Youthscape helped them through hard times in their lives and they visited a drop in centre run by the organisation.

As Kensington Palace later admitted in a tweet, William felt right at home as he got stuck into football games. And the couple enjoyed a visit to the kitchen and the offer of some cake.

But amongst the smiles, there were serious messages as the couple heard about a project aimed at supporting those who are self harming and the work that goes on to raise awareness of mental health issues among faith groups.

The second stop of their day in Luton highlighted an area Kate is known to be passionate about, the hospice movement. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Keech Hospice which this year marks its 25th anniversary.

As well as cutting a cake to celebrate the support offered to patients and their families over a quarter of a century. William and Kate met many of those now being looked after as well as the staff who help them every single day. 

Kate has made no secret of the huge importance she places on the work done by the children's hospice movement and she spent time with families, staff and volunteers at the section of Keech which helps young people.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also heard about the bereavement support provided at Keech Hospice and they were given memory jars which are used there to help patients, their families and staff think through their experiences. The personalised jars were presented to William and Kate by Jamie and Ethan Conium whose brother, Ciaran, died at the hospice in 2014.

There were big crowds for this part of the visit with plenty of wellwishers turning out to see the Cambridges as they made their way through this part of Luton on the hottest day of the year so far.

The last part of their Luton experience saw them visit the Hayward Tyler group which produces motors. William and Kate met some of the graduates and apprentices training at the business and then officially opened the new centre of excellence based there.  They also presented the company with the Queens' Award for Enterprise.

Then it was back to Kensington Palace where their diaries for the autumn are already filling up. In exactly a month's time, the royal couple will be heading to Canada for their second tour there while William is just back from a day trip to Germany to mark the 70th anniversary of the state of North Rhine Westphalia. There's also a trip to the Scilly Isles planned for next Thursday and Friday. The summer weather might still be here but the summer holidays are over for William and Kate as they get back to business as usual.

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