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The new generation

PUBLISHED: 05:34 09 February 2015

Undated handout photo issued by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, taken in late November of one of the three official Christmas images showing Prince George in a courtyard at Kensington Palace, central London.  Photo credit: TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/PA Wire .

Undated handout photo issued by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, taken in late November of one of the three official Christmas images showing Prince George in a courtyard at Kensington Palace, central London. Photo credit: TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/PA Wire .

With their new home on the Sandringham Estate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are already showing their support for two important charities in Norfolk.

The Royal Family begins 2015 in west Norfolk, after its traditional Christmas gathering at the Sandringham Estate. For The Queen, her children and grandchildren, it has been a special part of family life through the decades – and now young Prince George and his cousins are the new generation who will be enjoying this beautiful part of the county for years to come.

This year, the links between the royals and Norfolk are being strengthened even further with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge settling in to their new country residence at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate. The Queen gave the couple the 10-bedroomed Georgian mansion, which is just a couple of miles from Sandringham House and close also to Houghton Hall. The Duke and Duchess’ private apartments and offices remain at Kensington Palace in London, but Anmer – which has undergone refurbishment, including the building of a new garden room and re-routing of the driveway – will give them a delightful country home where their young family can grow up.

Prince George, The Queen’s third great-grandchild, after Savannah and Isla Phillips, is 17 months old. Mia Tindall, daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall, is the latest addition to the young generation, and with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – who have been married nearly four years – expecting their second child in April, there will be plenty of playmates to bring young life to estate.

Already the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are establishing their commitment to the county with their personal support for two of the county’s highly respected charities.

Prince William is due to join the East Anglian Air Ambulance as a pilot in the spring after undergoing a period of training. Although he is an experienced RAF search and rescue pilot who has flown more than 150 missions, he has to gain his Air Transport Pilot’s Licence (Helicopter) and undertake extra training to prepare him for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service missions, which can include anything from responding to road accidents to heart attacks. His main duties will involve flying an EC145 T2 aircraft from the charity’s base Cambridge Airport, initially as a co-pilot but later as a helicopter commander working alongside medics on day and night missions. The charity is taking delivery of a new helicopter which will be operational from next month, with the current helicopter that has been based in Cambridge moving to Norwich, so that the EAAA capability is extended.

Prince William, who will continue to undertake engagements on behalf of The Queen, will be employed but is donating his wages to the charity. The EAAA needs £7.6 million every year to maintaining the service, with donations helping to cover operating costs, fuel, medical equipment and staff on board.

Meanwhile the Duchess of Cambridge, patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has given her high profile support to a £10m appeal for a new hospice in Norfolk – ensuring that the nook appeal is gaining valuable publicity, helping to drive donations towards this worthy cause.

The appeal, which was launched in November, with our sister newspaper the Eastern Daily Press as its media spearhead, is raising money to create a purpose-built children’s hospice on a five-acre woodland plot in Framingham Earl, near Norwich, to replace the current facility at Quidenham, which is one of the oldest hospices in the UK and which is fast outgrowing its premises there. The nook, which already has planning permission, will bring the level of care given to seriously sick children and their families to a level which cannot be provided at the Quidenham site - increasing overnight accommodation, with improved medical and nursing equipment and 21st century facilities.

Plenty of events are being planned around the county – including The East Coast New Comedians Showcase at St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth on January 8 and a concert by Eyes of Blond at The Talk in Norwich’s Oak Street on January 24. Plans are underway for more major fundraisers for the nook appeal, such as a Grand Charity Masked Ball presented by Wroxham Bure Valley Rotary Club in April and the Grand East Anglia Run through the streets of King’s Lynn on May 3.

For more information on supporting the East Anglian Air Ambulance, visit www.eaaa.org.uk or call 0845 669999.

To support EACH’s the nook appeal, visit www.each.org.uk/the-nook, call 01953 666767, or write to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, Suite 5, The Old Dairy, Elm Farm Business Park, Norwich Common, Wymondham, NR18 0SW.

Happy home

The Duke and Duchess’ new home at Anmer makes them the latest is a long line of royals who have lived on the Sandringham Estate. It was in 1832 that the family bought what was then Sandringham Hall and its west Norfolk estate for the sum of £200,000. The hall has undergone many changes since then - as an excellent exhibition there, which is open to the public for part of the year, shows with photographs charting the story of the estate and the Royal Family’s times there.

An early development was the building of Park House, for Sir William Knollys, chief aide to Albert, Prince of Wales who moved in to Sandringham in 1863 with his new bride Princess Alexandra. In 1961 Park House was the birthplace of Diana, Princess of Wales, mother, of course, of Princes William and Harry. It is now a country house hotel for disabled people, run by Leonard Cheshire Disability.

A royal day out

Visit Sandringham in 2015 between Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, October 18 when it is open daily (excluding Wednesday, July 29 when it will be closed all day).

The house, museum and gardens make for a fascinating day out, and a glimpse into how the Royal family has enjoyed this special part of Norfolk for more than 180 years.

Entrance to the house, museum and gardens is £13.50 adults, £11.50 seniors and students, £6.50 children aged five to 15, and £33.50 for a family ticket of up to two adults and three children.

Sandringham Visitor Centre is open daily all year round, except for Good Friday and Christmas Day, with free parking, and there are lovely walks to be enjoyed as well as delicious meals from The Restaurant, refreshments at The Terrance Coffee Shop and the ice cream kiosk. There is a gift shop, plant centre and the clothing shop, Everything Outdoors.

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