The Duchess of Cambridge has flown thousands of miles across the world ... and ended up meeting people from Huddersfield

For she met two groups of folk from our town who have emigrated for new lives there.

One was Tai Dixon was brought up in Holmfirth but now lives in New Zealand and the other was 17-year-old Laura Mercy who originates from Dalton.

Tai and her daughter Iona got up close and personal to Royal guests as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went on a walkabout.

The Royal couple received a rapturous welcome from the people of New Zealand as they paid their respects to the nation’s war dead.

William and Kate’s visit to the town of Blenheim brought 5,000 people on to the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple and welcome them to the nation’s picturesque South Island.

 

The mood of the ecstatic crowds was contrasted with a sombre wreath-laying service at the town’s war memorial that saw the royal couple honour those who died fighting for New Zealand in all conflicts.

The Duke and Duchess, who wore a blue Alexander McQueen coat, went on a walkabout after the ceremony to meet people, many waving union flags and laden with flowers or presents. Locals also stood on balconies to get a better view of the royal couple while a handful of schoolchildren climbed a tree.

William and Kate have brought their eight-month-old son Prince George with them on their 19-day tour of New Zealand and Australia and yesterday he romped with other babies at a playgroup staged by childcare advisory organisation Plunket.

When the Duke met a little girl close to his son’s age he played along with the joke that maybe they could go on a date.

Mrs Dixon, 35, who lives in Blenheim, sat her 11-month-old daughter Iona on a crash barrier holding back the crowds and William brought a smile to her face when he tickled the child.

Mrs Dixon, a midwife originally from Holmfirth, said: “William said it would be hilarious if he brought George here, he said he was drooling.”

Former Holmfirth midwife Tai Dixon and baby daughter Iona
Former Holmfirth midwife Tai Dixon and baby daughter Iona
 

She was joined by her mother Cali Grainne Rainbow, who added: “I’m in New Zealand to see my granddaughter and I said she could get together with George and William said he would set them up.”

Laura's dad, now 48, left his home town 10 years ago to set up a his own courier business with wife, who is a vet.

The couple have a 17-year-old daughter, Laura, and 14-year-old son Ben and had gone to Blenheim from their home in Picton to see the Royal couple on a walkabout.

Laura's dad was educated at St Joseph’s and All Saints schools in Huddersfield and his mum, June, who lives in Dalton said: “Laura was with two friends and when the Duchess spoke to them they turned and said Laura was from England so she went to speak to her.

“Laura got to shake hands then chat with Kate for quite a while and was then promptly interviewed by TV NZ 3 news, Sky news and an Australian news channel - all wanting to know what the Duchess had said. Laura said she was lovely.”

June’s daughter, Donna, lives near her in Dalton with husband Christopher and sons Daniel, 23 and Luke, 19.

June lost her husband, Kevin, four years ago and he was the son of well-known Kirklees councillor Benny Mercy who founded Almondbury Working Men’s Club.

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