The Duchess of Cambridge visits Cumbria to highlight benefit of nature to young people

  • Report by Ralph Blunsom

The Duchess of Cambridge has visited Cumbria and highlighted the beneficial, lifelong impact that nature and the outdoors can have on young people.

Her Royal Highness, who is Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets, joined a group of Air Cadets taking part in outdoor activities, including mountain biking.

The Duchess of Cambridge rides a bike at RAF Air Cadets' Windermere Adventure Training Centre in Cumbria. Credit: PA

She then marked the reopening of the RAF Air Cadets' Windermere Adventure Training Centre following a £2million refit.

It is hoped that the centre will enable hundreds of cadets from across the UK to be able to visit the Lake District each year and take part in a wide variety of activities, allowing them to build their confidence and leadership skills and achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

The Duchess of Cambridge Credit: PA

The Duchess of Cambridge believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children and young people's future health and happiness.

Her Royal Highness also embarked on a boat trip with two of the 'Windermere Children', a group of 300 child Holocaust survivors who came to stay in the Lake District in 1945 for a period of recuperation, following the atrocities they experienced in concentration camps and the ghettos of Nazi Occupied Europe.

The Duchess of Cambridge boards the steam launch Osprey on Windermere from Wray Castle. Credit: PA

The Duchess wanted to be able to meet some of the survivors in person and hear their stories, having previously learnt about the history of the Windermere Children.

During the boat trip she heard about the ways in which their time in the Lakes and the innovative support that they received at the Calgarth Estate, including outdoor recreation, sport and art therapy, allowed them to be able to begin to heal from the trauma of their childhood experiences.

The Duchess of Cambridge (second right) travels in the steam launch Osprey on Windermere from Wray Castle. Credit: PA

Her Royal Highness disembarked at the Jetty Museum, where she met relatives of survivors who spoke about how their loved ones' time in Cumbria helped them to go on to build successful lives in the UK.

The Duchess also learned about the work of the Lake District Holocaust Project to document and educate the public about the experiences of the Windermere Children.

In January 2020, The Duchess of Cambridge took photographs of Holocaust survivors Stephen Frank and Yvonne Bernstein and their grandchildren in order to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust.

The images are now on display at the Imperial War Museum as part of the Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors exhibition, which has been produced in partnership with the Royal Photographic Society, Jewish News and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Earlier this year The Duchess spoke via video call to survivors Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, alongside youth ambassadors from the Holocaust Educational Trust to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.