The Duchess of Cornwall with Dame Esther Rantzen at The Silver Line in Blackpool

The Duchess of Cornwall carried out engagements in Lancashire today, visiting charities in Blackpool and Preston.

Her Royal Highness first visited The Silver Line to see how they help to support lonely and vulnerable older people. The Duchess became Patron of the charity earlier this year, and this was her first visit to their headquarters in Blackpool.

The Silver Line helpline offers 24/7 advice, friendship or just a confidential chat for older people who may be isolated or lonely. The freephone service has taken over 1.6 million calls since it launched in November 2013.

The Duchess met staff and helpline volunteers alongside the charity’s founder, Dame Esther Rantzen. Her Royal Highness was given a briefing on the work of The Silver Line and chatted to a regular caller, Betty.

In Preston, The Duchess of Cornwall toured Emmaus UK’s Megastore, which sells upcycled household goods and furniture. The Megastore is the largest charity shop in the UK and helps support formerly homeless people.

Emmaus gives ‘companions’ (or residents of Emmaus communities) a place live and meaningful work so that they can regain their self-esteem and find a positive way to move forward with their lives.

Her Royal Highness met companions and volunteers at the Megastore and wrote a personal Christmas message to all those at Emmaus, which was then hung on their Christmas tree.