Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have praised an 85-year-old who is fundraising in memory of her grandson.
The royals joined a video call with Enid Waterfall, from Wrexham, as she was presented with an award in the inaugural Teenage Cancer Trust 2020 Awards, held virtually.
Waterfall’s grandson Richard had been a tireless campaigner for the charity until he died in 2018, after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that affects the bones or the tissues around them.
Waterfall and her husband Norman, 89, have raised more than £28,000 since, for TCT.
Eugenie said: “First of all, to hear about your grandson Richard – what an amazing thing to do, in honour of his memory. I think it almost chokes me up a bit because it must be so difficult to do that.”
Waterfall said about her fundraising: “Strangely enough you feel closer to Richard when you’re doing it.
“And the reaction from people – it’s not me, it’s the people who give, it’s the people who work with me, it’s everyone who approaches you and keeps giving money – time after time after time.”
Beatrice wiped a tear from her eye as she heard from the grandmother, and added: “Thank you for all your incredible work… for you and also for Richard’s legacy – thank you for everything.”
Eugenie, 30, also revealed a little about what she and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, went through when his father was diagnosed and treated for coronavirus.
The princess spoke to cancer nurse Nicky Pettitt, who was redeployed to a coronavirus ward and had to call families of patients to keep them updated.
Eugenie said: “My husband’s father was in hospital and every time we spoke to someone, who had to tell us the news, they had to ring every patient’s family that day.
“That must’ve been such an awful thing to have to do.”
Pettitt was also given an award by the TCT. She said: “As a cancer nurse you’re used to having difficult conversations and complex conversations, the skill set is there and that becomes very transferable…
“I don’t know if it was frightening, I think it was very humbling really. We didn’t appreciate the impact we would have both for the patient’s families, to be that lifeline.”
She added: “The wards we supported were generally surgical nurses by background so their nursing was perhaps quite different [to teenage and young adult cancer nurses]. So we supported broader colleagues to re-adjust to a lot of end of life care and a lot of different care than they were used to.
“There were lots of teachable moments.
Eugenie and Jack were told to “prepare for the worst” when Brooksbank was in hospital, but he has now returned home after weeks of treatment.
Eugenie added: “It has been a real honour for Beatrice and I to present these awards to such dedicated, kind and inspiring individuals.
“Hearing what it has been like working on the frontline, the personal stories that drive fundraising and how inspirational young people have campaigned in the face of adversity – and all during a global pandemic – will stay with us forever.”
The princesses joined young cancer patients and survivors on a TCT call last week, where Eugenie spoke to one woman who was proud of her scar after seeing the princess’s wedding dress.
Eugenie chose a dress which showed the scar from her scoliosis surgery when she was a child.
Reflecting on last week’s call, Beatrice, 31, said: “I came away with such a feeling of hope and inspiration and also the amazing work that the team at Teenage Cancer Trust has delivered for them It was a remarkable conversation and the bravery all witnessed on that call is incredibly touching.”
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are the daughters of Prince Andrew of York.
They are not working royals, so none of their charity work is carried out on behalf of the Queen.