An Elmbridge charity had the pleasure of welcoming The Duchess of Edinburgh to a community event last week - and even helped The Duchess celebrate her birthday.

The Walton Charity hosted a visit from Her Royal Highness at Burview Hall on Friday, January 18, introducing her to a variety of Elmbridge community groups.

Her Royal Highness took part in a number of activities, gaining an understanding of the work conducted by Walton & Hersham Foodbank and Elmbridge Mencap.

She learnt about Walton & Hersham's new project, The Bridge, and saw how they were combatting financial hardship.

Walton & Hersham Foodbank, one of four foodbanks in the borough, fed 4,931 people in 2023, marking a significant increase from the 3,981 people fed in 2022.

They also successfully organised a charity challenge that gathered 2.2 tons of food and essentials.

During her visit, The Duchess worked with the foodbank team to sort donations and prepare emergency food packages for local individuals in crisis.

The Walton Charity’s independent living schemes' art group got the chance to show Her Royal Highness their latest work as well.

These independent living schemes have been instrumental in providing accommodation and avoiding homelessness for people aged over 55.

Your Local Guardian: The Duchess of Edinburgh also got to celebrate her birthday during her charity visitThe Duchess of Edinburgh also got to celebrate her birthday during her charity visit (Image: Steve Porter)

The Duchess then played a parachute game with members of Elmbridge Mencap’s Day Service and students of Walton Leigh School.

Her Royal Highness also spent time in the kitchen cutting out cookies and playing table football with members of the Day Service.

Jean Rigden, Trustee of Elmbridge Mencap, had the opportunity to share her family’s history of the charity that she has spent 50 years volunteering for.

The Duchess also talked with Walton Charity’s Community Allotment volunteers and helped Elmbridge Tree Wardens to plant a tree, promoting wellbeing and sustainability among the community.

Their community allotment fosters social interaction while catering to mental and physical health conditions.

After a busy day, she wrote a message of gratitude on a pebble, which was added to the local Guided Wellbeing group’s mandala.

To finish off the day, the children of Rewilding Forest School presented Her Royal Highness with a portrait of the King, made entirely from leaves, and The Duchess unveiled a plaque, commemorating her visit.

She was also presented with a birthday cake, and the entire group sang to her in celebration of her upcoming birthday.

Walton Charity supports people experiencing financial hardship, offering direct grants for individuals, community grants for local organisations and schools, social housing for single people of all ages, and properties and land for use by the wider community.

The Charity, which has a history spanning 800 years, also supports the efforts of the Walton & Hersham Foodbank.

The Elmbridge Mencap Burview Hall is one of the Walton Charity’s community properties.

Regular activities and social clubs for people with learning disabilities and their families are held at the venue, such as their popular 'Family Fun' sessions.

The hall also doubles as a meeting space for other local charities and Walton Leigh School.