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Duchess Kate launches fundraiser for new children's hospice facility

The Duchess of Cambridge has long been committed to children's hospice facilities, and now she's continuing her efforts to benefit ailing children and their families by launching a hospice fundraiser.Duchess Kate, dressed in a prim, red Katherine Hooker design, arrived in Norwich, England, Tuesday and met with families, supporters and volunteers to kick off a £10 million (over $15 million US) "n
Image: Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge, center, is greeted by dignitaries as she arrives to attend an appeal launch for the East Anglia’s Children's Hospices (EACH) charity at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich, England, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.Matt Dunham / Today

The Duchess of Cambridge has long been committed to children's hospice facilities, and now she's continuing her efforts to benefit ailing children and their families by launching a hospice fundraiser.

Mark Cuthbert / Today

Duchess Kate, dressed in a prim, red Katherine Hooker design, arrived in Norwich, England, Tuesday and met with families, supporters and volunteers to kick off a £10 million (over $15 million US) "nook appeal" drive for the construction of a new center for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

Among those in attendance was Leigh Smith, a 33-year-old mother whose daughter Beatrice died of a heart condition at just 89 days old. Smith had written to the royal during her difficult time, and at the Norwich event, the bereaved parent revealed the comfort she'd received from Kate's response.

"I was so surprised to receive a letter with such personal comments and signed by her," Smith said in a quote published by ITV." It was a lovely gesture and helped me through a terrible time. I was touched that she had taken so much time to carefully read my letter and then to reply herself — it shows how much she cares."

Smith explained that she was especially impressed that the duchess not only wrote to her, but remembered her story on Tuesday.

"When I met her today she remembered the letter and said it was an honor to meet me," Smith said. "I was completely taken aback — for me it was an honor to meet her."

It's not the first time a personal note from Kate has had such an impact form a family struggling with the devastating effects of a child's terminal illness. A letter she wrote to a young cancer patient earlier this year was so treasured, his family had it buried with the boy when he died.

In a statement released before her visit to Norwich, the duchess said she looks forward "to seeing the progress of this campaign" that stands to benefit so many families.

The+Duchess+of+Cambridge:+"I+greatly+admire+the+dedication,+generosity+and+achievements+of+@EACH_hospices+supporters+and+volunteers"

—+Clarence+House+(@ClarenceHouse)+November+25,+2014+

EACH chief executive Graham Butland praised Kate's visit.

"Everyone at EACH is honored and extremely proud to have the Duchess of Cambridge as Royal Patron and delighted she is able to join us today as we share our vision [for the new facility]," he said ahead of the event.

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