Kate did a short walkabout upon arrival and was presented with a dog hamper for her cocker spaniel Lupo from "school dog" Henry, headteacher Anne Whitehead's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Kate thanked the adorable dog saying "Henry, you have gone to so much trouble" :)
The Willows Primary School has long been regarded as one of the city's most successful primaries, overcoming high local unemployment rates and poverty to be ranked as outstanding. Kate is not the first royal to visit the area which is home to 66,000 people. In 2009, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, spent ten days in the estate as part of an ITV Documentary 'The Duchess on the Estate'. Those of you from the UK will recognise the area as the backdrop to Channel 4's 'Shameless'.
The Duchess travelled from London to Manchester via train. Tuesday Porritt kindly shared a photo of Kate leaving Wilmslow train station wearing the unidentified pale pink coat she wore to Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mark Tomlinson's Swiss wedding in March.
|Tuesday Porritt Twitter Feed|
Staff at the primary school and the local community have come together in a heroic effort to clean up the Junior Playground after arsonists attacked the school just hours after Kate's visit was announced. Three thirteen-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of arson following the fire.
Undeterred, head teacher Anne Whitehead said:
'We were devastated when we heard about the fire, but we're not going to let them beat us.'
The people of Wythenshawe showed tremendous community spirit in their efforts to get the playground cleaned up before today's royal visit and have launched a campaign in the hopes of raising £45,000 to restore their beloved adventure playground Fort Henry. If you wish to donate you can so by clicking here.
|The Willows Primary School|
The creative pupils at The Willows Primary School share their drawing of Kate.
|Rebecca English Twitter Feed|
Kate enjoyed chatting with the pupils.
Accompanied by local John Bishom, a Comic Relief ambassador, Kate met staff, pupils and local families who discussed their experiences.
|Comic Relief Twitter Feed|
The Duchess launched the M-Pact scheme designed to help families affected by alcohol and substance abuse, a partnership between the Royal Foundation, Comic Relief and two of Kate's patronages, Place2Be and Action on Addiction. The new programme combines Place2Be's in-school counselling for children and parents with the expertise of Action on Addiction's 'Moving Parents and Children Together' programme. It's great to see two of Kate's working together to provide this excellent programme which I'm sure will help so many.
The visit provided Kate with a first hand look at the work Place2Be does with schools; supporting children with emotional issues and providing workplace learning and training to provide practical approaches that enable school-based staff to support individual children more effectively.
The Duchess took part in a tree planting ceremony.
|Place2Be Facebook Page|
Kate delivered a short speech which can be viewed at ITN Source. She was obviously very nervous, as public speaking certainly takes getting used to and I suspect it will become easier for her with practice. She did very well focusing on the destructive affect parental addiction has on children and it's clear she's very passionate about her role.
|Plac2Be Facebook Page|
An extract from Kate's speech from The Mirror:
"Addiction is a hugely complex and destructive disease and its impact can be simply devastating. All too often, lives and families can be shattered by it.
Through my patronage with Action on Addiction, I feel fortunate to have met a wide range of inspirational people who have overcome addiction. It is so encouraging to see with the right help - like that of Action on Addiction - it can be conquered.
But those who are addicted are not the only victims. I have been struck by the profound and deeply damaging impact it has on the children of affected parents. Research has shown that children of those who are addicted are seven times more likely to have addiction problems themselves.
They are also brought up surrounded by fear, instability and chaos.
Last year, I asked The Royal Foundation, which I share with William and Harry, to see what could be done to help these children.
In partnership with Comic Relief, our foundation commissioned a piece of research to explore this issue. Today, it gives me an enormous feeling of pride and excitement to launch a programme that will bring this research to life.
Place 2 Be delivers exceptional specialist counselling services in schools. Action on Addiction's MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) programme delivers life changing and expert support to families affected by addiction.
The Royal Foundation has simply brought these two outstanding charities together to deliver a programme that will ensure that many children living with addicted parents will be identified, supported and guided to look towards a positive and hopefully, addiction free future.
I would like to thank The Royal Foundation for all that they have done to make this happen. Thank you also to Comic Relief, Place 2 Be and Action on Addiction for working so brilliantly with them.
The cycle of addiction needs to be broken. My hope is that through this specialist and targeted delivery of care, these children will have the best possible start in life - the one that they deserve."
Place2Be shared this via Twitter:
The Duchess looked striking in the Erdem Sophia Visconti-Bloom Dress. The navy-blue, burgundy, white, blue and pink Visconti-bloom silk-crepe dress has a square-neckline and sheer half-sleeves. The fitted dress has a hidden zip and a small back hem slit. Kate always looks lovely in Erdem and it's a very flattering piece for her at this stage of her pregnancy. Perfect for Spring! The dress is available for €1248 at Matches. It's also available Neiman Marcus and Net-a-Porter.
It's described as:
'For flawless, ladylike dressing, look no further than fashion darling Erdem. The label's signature Visconti-blooms work their way across a demure, fitted shift. Unashamedly feminine, work this dress as an elegant alternative to the LBD'.
A closer look at the print.
Kate teamed her dress with her navy suede pumps and her £245 Russell and Bromley Muse Clutch.
Kate completed the ensemble with her Annoushka pearl earrings and her Asprey Button Pendant.
Tomorrow the Duchess will attend attend a reception at the National Portrait Gallery celebrating the work of her patronage The Art Room. Happy St George's Day! :)