PRINCESS Anne flew in to Eastbourne by helicopter and met carers at an Eastbourne charity on Monday.
The Princess Royal officially opened the new Care for Carers site in St Leonards Road and spoke to people from across East Sussex who spend their lives caring for family members and loved ones.
Princess Anne arrived at 11.45am and was greeted by volunteers and staff at Care for Carers, the carers themselves, Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and East Sussex county councillors.
There was a plaque which was unveiled by Princess Anne and she officially declared the centre open. The centre will provide a space for carers to access advice, information and support.
Many of the carers attended the royal visit and were thrilled to meet the Princess.
The carers said Princess Anne managed to speak to everyone in the room and showed a genuine interest about the subject
Eastbourne resident Roger Strange-Burlong, who has cared for his wife for around eight years and is chair of the Carers’ Forum, said, “She was very knowledgable on the subject and you can tell she really cares about carers.
“It was wonderful to have her here today. It recognises what carers do and it was lovely to have her here.
“She was very friendly and I was comfortable in her presence.”
Linda Seddon, who looks after her partner who fractured his spine when he came off his bike 10 years ago, said, “It is fantastic to have Princess Anne here.
“I was gobsmacked when I got the invite – it was amazing.
“My granddaughter was really jealous when I got the invite because she too wanted to meet a real-life princess.
Teenage carers from across East Sussex also attended the royal visit.
Rosie Burford, a 17-year-old who cares for her mum, said, “It was a once-in-a- lifetime chance to meet her.
“She listened to what we said and took it to heart.”
And 17-year-old David Edwards added, “It was pretty mind-blowing. I really didn’t expect her to speak to everyone but she made sure she spoke to us all, which was nice.”
Marie Casey, chief executive of Care for Carers, said it had been a great experience and she hoped it would raise awareness of the cause.
She said, “It has just been such an honour to have her here and for her to show her support for the work we do.
“She spoke to every single person in the room and she was interested in everything people had to say, which is great because everyone has a different perspective.”
Care for Carers is an independent charity, but it is part of a network of care centres backed by the Princess Royal Trust, a charity which Princess Anne helped to create.