Prince William and Kate Middleton help Thursford gala night raise �35k for charity

A Royal gala performance of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, which brought Prince William and Kate Middleton to Norfolk, has raised more than �35,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The prince and his new fiancee led a standing ovation on Saturday night after watching the show at Thursford, near Fakenham, on their first public appearance together since announcing their wedding plans.

During the interval, the couple met an inspiring group of young cancer patients from across East Anglia who were helping raise money towards a �2.5m specialist unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, for people aged 13-24.

The proceeds from the evening were added to the �2m already collected during two years of fundraising overseen by the Teenage Cancer Trust's East Anglia Appeal volunteer board.

Barbara Cushing, the wife of Thursford show founder John Cushing and a committee member for the trust's project, said: 'We are thrilled the evening at Thursford has raised in excess of �35,000 for this charity and we expect it to go a little higher as we are still receiving donations this week.

'All our staff here worked very hard to make the evening a success, including the cast and all the people behind the scenes.'

Prince William and Miss Middleton discussed the Teenage Cancer Trust's work while meeting Rosie Van Raalte, Charlotte Loader, Bethany Skipper, Kirsty Tindal, Adam Brown, Henry O'Lone and Lucy Smith.

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The youngsters explained that, during their cancer treatment, they were often placed on either children's wards with babies or on adult wards alongside elderly patients, since there are currently no Teenage Cancer Trust facilities available in the region.

After the show, 16-year-old Rosie Van Raalte from Little Melton, near Norwich, said: 'They took a genuine interest in what I'd been through and the operation I had.

'The conversation flowed really well and they made me feel relaxed as I was really nervous before I saw them. Once I started talking, I relaxed and even forgot that I was talking to a prince.'

Adam Brown, 22, from Roughton, near Cromer, said: 'The Prince asked me what age I was when I was first diagnosed and what my ongoing treatment is like. They were both very pleasant and nice to talk to.'

Lucy Smith, 23, from Norwich, said: 'We spoke about my treatment and how much Teenage Cancer Trust had helped me. They were both very friendly, relaxed and down-to-earth and I enjoyed meeting them.'

Simon Davies, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust said: 'We feel incredibly privileged that both Prince William and Miss Middleton gave up their valuable time and lent their support to Teenage Cancer Trust's fundraising appeal. We also thank John and Barbara Cushing for generously donating all the proceeds from the special evening.

'The support we have received from across East Anglia over the past few years has been phenomenal and we know our new unit at Addenbrooke's will make a big difference to young people in their fight against cancer.'