PRINCE William has hailed the nations Covid “heroes” in a speech to food bank volunteers in Manchester.
In the fourth and final stop of the Royal Train Tour, he acknowledged the tough time the North of England has been through in recent months of the coronavirus crisis.
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They visited FareShare, which redistributes surplus food to 11,000 charities and community groups in across the UK, including to breakfast clubs, community centres, homeless shelters and food banks.
“I know you’ve had a particularly hard time over recent months, as has the whole of the North of England,” he told volunteers.
“I’m really glad we’ve been able to come and talk to some of you in person about how you’ve all been doing.
“Catherine and I felt that it was extremely important to visit just some of the heroes that have emerged this year to thank you for all that you have done.”
He praised transport workers, paramedics, school teachers and staff and volunteers of organisations such as Fair Share.
“You are the people that have not only kept our country going but have also helped warm all our hearts by showing us the very best of human nature.”
During the first national lockdown the number of families relying on FareShare Greater Manchester for food nearly doubled overnight and charity was inundated with people offering to volunteer.
He said the charity’s work in creating two million meals for the most vulnerable in our society is “truly remarkable”.
“Sadly, given the economic challenges ahead, the generosity of your donors is going to be called on even more over the difficult months ahead.
“But it is inspiring to know that you have risen to the challenge once this year already.
“And in bleak times, and particularly on this very cold December evening, you give us hope about what we can be achieved if we all work together.”
Earlier the royal couple were in Edinburgh where they were serenaded by a bagpipe player as they were greeted at the station.
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They were treated to a performance of Merry Christmas Everyone by Shaky – known as the Welsh Elvis.
The Duke and Duchess met transport workers at London’s Euston Station on Sunday night, and thanked them for keeping trains running during the pandemic.