The Duchess of York has helped bring cheer to north-east families by donating tasty treats to children.
Sarah Ferguson sent a generous £600 donation to the Kemnay Farm Shop after hearing about the efforts of hard working staff feeding pupils during lockdown.
Owner Michelle Clark, 51, starting cooking up large batches of food to help out local families after all the schools closed down.
She was concerned many children were missing out on getting access to free meals served at childcare hubs.
Now the Duchess of York has stepped in to help – and has also dedicated a story reading session to the pupils of schools in the area.
She read The Very Hungry Caterpillar on her YouTube channel Storytime with Fergie and Friends over the weekend.
Michelle launched free meals for children to help out during the coronavirus crisis and was surprised when it attracted royal attention.
She said: “Its just absolutely phenomenal. It’s brilliant to think she’s wanting to help the kids in Kemnay.
“Here’s us, a tiny little farm shop that’s been open for a year next month, and to be heard about all the way down in London where she’s heard about us has been just great.
“It really cheers us up, it’s just given everyone a bit of a lift to think that people are thinking about us far away.”
Michelle has been living in Kemnay for many years and wanted to help out local families who may be struggling during the lockdown.
She started up making up 30 food packs five days a week and this has now increased to 70.
She said: “We’ve got a lot of kids in Kemnay and when I heard the main hub was going to be in Kintore, I realised a lot of the parents wouldn’t be able to get there to pick up free lunches.
“So I just thought we can do this. I’ve got such a great bunch of girls working with me. It’s a little kitchen but we’ll manage.”
When the Duchess of York became aware of all the work staff at the shop were doing, she was keen to help out.
She sent donations of shortbread and yoghurt for the children and also money which will help pay for two weeks of lunches.
And children will receive special recipe packs delivered to their homes today with ingredients to make up strawberry mice and chocolate crispy cakes.
Michelle roped in daughter, Isla, 15, to help pack the parcels and was also helped by local volunteer Jill Thomson.
Jill , 41, was inspired to help the Kemnay Farm Shop as a volunteer.
The emergency management instructor at Petrofac has been helping with food deliveries.
Jill, of Kemnay, said: “It’s been brilliant and Michelle herself has had a smile on her face for about a week.
“And in such dark unknown times it’s such a gesture of kindness.
“It’s very personal to Kemnay, which makes it even more special.”
Other small businesses in the area are also donating food to Michelle’s shop, with the local church also supporting the team through cooking meals.
And Jill says the support has been welcomed by Michelle and the Kemnay Farm Shop, which has become a “real nucleaus” within the village.
She said: “You will not meet somebody that has worked like she has.
“She’s really been quite an inspiration and it’s a pleasure to help her.”
A spokesman for Sarah, Duchess of York, said: “The Duchess was absolutely delighted to be able to help and hopes that the meals were delicious and the story time sparked young imaginations.
“She sends the children lots of love and reminds them that sooner or later life will get back to normal.”