Worldwide hospice boost after Duchess visit

The Duchess of Cambridge has won a rousing reception for her first public speech delivered in Suffolk. The Duchess spent Monday in Ipswich meeting children with life threatening illnesses and praised the work of the Treehouse hospice as 'a family home' and 'a place for fun'.

This might have been a big day for the newest member of the Royal family but she wasn't the only one determined to get it right. The flags were out, the street performers entertained and the school children were all on their best behaviour. Children from local schools were the first to greet the Duchess, dignitaries then lined her route into the hospice.

Bethany Woods (10) from Ipswich has a form of muscular dystrophy and loves singing at the Treehouse. On Monday she got to sing to a duchess. Bethany said: "She said she liked the hospice and she thought it was a really great place."

And that was expressed in the Duchess's first public speech. Although those close by noticed signs of nerves she carried it off with a confident performance.

"Today I have seen again that the Treehouse is all about family and fun. For many this is a home from home, a lifeline, enabling families to live as normally as possible during a very prescious period. William would have loved it here."

– The Duchess of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge planting a tree
The Duchess of Cambridge planting a tree at the East Anglia Children's Hospice in Ipswich Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire

£3 million was raised in less than twelve months to build the hospice. With the speech out of the way, it was time to declare the hospice officially open, the Duchess planting her first tree in public in the UK.

Her choice to be the Royal Patron of East Anglia's Children's hospices will of course draw clear comparisons with Princess Diana. In 1989 she opened the charity's first hospice in Milton in Cambridgeshire.

The Duchess of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge at the East Anglia Children's Hospice in Ipswich Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire