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18 March 2016

Young girl with epilepsy goes shopping with Duchess of Cambridge


An 11-year-old girl with a rare form of childhood epilepsy stole the show when she took the Duchess of Cambridge on an impromptu tour of a new charity shop.

Kate was visiting the new East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) store in Holt, Norfolk, today when she met Rebekah Hughes inside the shop. 

Rebekah has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy which begins in infancy and involves seizures which cannot be controlled by medication.

Kate asked Rebekah what her favourite item was in the shop and the young girl led her by the hand to a display of handbags and jewellery.

Rebekah explained that her favourite item was a silver Gant handbag, to which Kate replied: 'We better put a reserved sticker on that.'

Kate's favourite item

Rebekah then asked Kate which her favourite was and Kate chose a £1 penguin brooch.

She added: 'There are so many wonderful things.'

Kate then helped Rebekah put a bracelet on her mum, Annabel Hughes, 44, from Aylsham, Norfolk.

Mrs Hughes said: 'I'll have to buy her the handbag now or I won't hear the end of it.

'I think Kate got off lightly - Rebekah has a way of taking over and she's lucky she didn't have her trying on outfits in the changing room.

'She was brilliant with Rebekah and it was a really special moment.'

Presents for Prince George and Princess Charlotte

Afterwards Kate selected a book, Fireman Sam's Favourite Tales, as a present for Prince George and a Beatrix Potter Tom Kitten figurine for Princess Charlotte.

She explained Fireman Sam was George's favourite character as she handed over £10 in cash for the gifts.

Sarah Throssell, who served the duchess, said: 'She seemed really pleased with the finds.'

Problems with security tags

During the visit, Kate, who is royal patron of EACH, helped volunteers sort clothes in a back room.

She revealed her frustration with security tags as she helped attach one to a garment, saying: 'I always wondered how you get them on because they're a nightmare to get off.'

Chatting to Linda Gidley, who has been a volunteer in the charity's Long Stratton store for 15 years, the duchess said she liked to buy cook books in charity shops.

'They're the ones I always look out for,' she said.

Image: HiT Etertainment Copyright 2014 Prism Art&Design Limited

What EACH does

EACH supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The charity supports  more than 700 children, young people and family members.

The new shop, which is a little over 20 miles (32km) from Kate's home at Anmer Hall, will form part of EACH's network of 21 charity retail outlets.

Find out more

Read about the latest clinical trials into a new drug for Dravet syndrome.