Fog-delayed Kate beams at crowds
The Duchess of Cambridge has arrived in a cold, foggy Grimsby more than an hour late but beaming at the hundreds who turned out to see her.
Kate, whose helicopter from Kensington Palace was severely delayed due to adverse weather, smiled as flag-waving crowds chanted: "We want Kate!"
With her baby bump visible beneath her chocolate-coloured three-quarter length Hobbs coat, the Duchess began her visit at the north-east Lincolnshire town's National Fishing Heritage Centre - her first of three engagements.
A Palace official said her helicopter landed at Humberside Airport an hour and a quarter later than expected due to fog but Kate will complete her visit as planned. On her arrival at the dockside museum, the Duchess met local dignitaries before being given a tour of the centre, which celebrates the region's strong fishing heritage.
Former trawlerman John Vincent, now a guide, showed her around the award-winning museum, with its mocked-up 1950s high street complete with a traditional pub, which he and Kate called into. She also discussed environmental issues, such as the sustainability of North Sea fishing, with local trawler owner Kurt Christensen. Mr Vincent said: "It's been fantastic, a great honour. She's a great lady. She was very knowledgeable and asked some very good questions. We had a bit of a laugh going round too. I wished her all the best with her pregnancy and asked her to give my regards to William and Harry and bring them down here."
On leaving the museum, the Duchess made a beeline for the excited crowds, who shook her hand and presented her with flowers and a teddy bear. Six-year-old Zara Williams had been waiting with her family since 9.30am to meet the royal visitor. Zara, from nearby Goxhill, presented Kate with a bunch of pink roses and said: "She was really pretty. She was really nice to me and I liked her clothes."
The Duchess was greeted with loud cheers by the crowd gathered outside Grimsby's Peaks Lane Fire Station. Around 200 people bordered the streets outside the station, some had been waiting in brisk temperatures for nearly three hours to see Kate.
She was met by local dignitaries before making an unplanned stop on her way into the building to meet around 10 adults and children who were patients at nearby St Andrew's Hospice. Stooping slightly to talk to a group of women, who were wrapped in blankets as they sat in their wheelchairs, Kate shared a loud laugh with them. Claire Moss-Smith, 86, said she had said to the Duchess: "I'm waiting for you to be Queen." Kate laughed, she said, and replied: "You might be waiting a long time."
Once inside, Kate met young people involved with the Prince of Wales's flagship charity The Prince's Trust, and the visit was the first time she had met people on the ground involved with the charity. Some were past members who had been part of the scheme, while others were part-way through the 12-week programme delivered in partnership with Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. The Trust's Team programme is a 12-week personal development scheme which helps unemployed 16 to 25-year-olds build the skills and confidence they need to get a job.
As well as meeting with the young people, Kate was also introduced to the fire crews working at the station and shown the fleet of fire engines. She was shown a fire pole inside the station and said: "That reminds me of the scene in the Bridget Jones film." In the movie, the character Bridget Jones is made to slide down a fire pole as part of her job as a television journalist but makes an ungracious landing on top of the cameraman.