The three lesser-known reindeer, who are not among Santa’s helpers, took part in a surprise visit to a school. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38, are spending three days crossing the UK to thank frontline pandemic heroes – and yesterday they landed in Scotland and the North of England. They set off the night before from London’s Euston station, buoyed by Shakin’ Stevens belting out Merry Christmas Everyone on the platform at their invitation.
The couple’s first stop yesterday was the Scottish Ambulance Service in Newbridge, near Edinburgh, where staff were mourning a paramedic who died from Covid-19.
William, wearing a dark blue coat and tartan scarf, and Kate, in a blue Catherine Walker coat and carrying a bag by Scottish designer Strathberry, thanked staff.
Among them was paramedic Alistair Matson, 54, whose dad died during lockdown.
He said: “It was very emotional talking to the Prince about losing my father. He was very anxious to hear how we managed to cope with the mental strains of our job.”
The next stop for the couple, who are known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn in Scotland, was Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed – the northern-most town in England.
They booked Chaz, Crackers and baby Echols from Rent A Reindeer in County Durham to keep the children entertained while they thanked the teachers.
Reindeer owner George Richardson said: “We got a phone call out of the blue two weeks ago. They asked us to bring a reindeer and we were happy to oblige.”
Next Wills and Kate thanked volunteers at Batley Community Centre, West Yorks.
The Duchess also met her phone-a-friend Len Gardner, 85, for the first time. She has been calling him since May as part of a Royal Voluntary Service initiative to reach those feeling lonely.
Full-time carer Len said he gets on so well with Kate that he calls her “love”.
She even sent him two kilos of flour and a pasta machine after they chatted about his love for making his own.
Len said of meeting her in the flesh: “I am especially pleased about this day. It will live with me for ever.”