Princess Anne was greeted by huge crowds in Ripley today as she paid a visit to the Derbyshire Carers Association charity headquarters.
She spent more than an hour meeting carers and staff and unveiled a plaque to mark the charity’s 30th anniversary.
Chief executive Narinder Sharma said: “It was a truly special day. Staff and volunteers work so hard at DCA and they’re all absolutely devoted.
“I know that the carers present loved meeting the Princess Royal and she took a huge interest in their stories and their lives.”
Among those to meet the royal was Abigail Nicholls, 13, a carer for her father.
She said: “She shook my hand and we chatted about how the association supports young carers. She was really down to earth and seemed really interested.
“It’s been a cool day. The crowds were so big. It was amazing.”
Outside the offices, schoolchildren and shoppers were waving flags, while businesses had decked their stores with bunting and balloons.
One onlooker said: “It’s fantastic to have a member of the royal family visiting our town. I think it’s lovely that a local charity gets this kind of recognition.
“It’s a bloomin’ cold day. My teeth were chattering with cold but I was determined to get a glimpse of the princess.”
Other dignitaries attending the event, included the Lord Lieutenant William Tucker, the High Sheriff of Derbyshire Lucy Palmer, Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills and Mayor of Amber Valley Borough Council Angela Ward.
Charity founder, Gerry Fryer, was also present and spoke to the princess about how he had founded the organisation based on his experience as a lone carer who felt that carers needed a voice and a service that was tailor-made to their needs.
Derbyshire Carers Association looks after almost 20,000 carers, many of whom are considered ‘carers in crisis’, struggling to look after a disabled relative and suffering exhaustion and anxiety in the role.
The charity provides one-to-one support, events and respite opportunities.
For more information, visit www.derbyshirecarers.co.uk.