Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, has listened to Christmas Carols sung by formerly homeless people and staff of homelessness charity Emmaus Salford on Friday 8 December.

The Duchess, who is Royal Patron of Emmaus UK, was given a tour of the Emmaus Preston Megastore, the UK’s largest charity shop, and introduced to companions, volunteers, staff and trustees from Emmaus communities across the North West.

Leading the tour was Karen Wallis, Deputy Support Manager at Emmaus Preston and former beneficiary of the charity. Karen dramatically turned her life around after escaping an abusive partner and overcoming drug addiction. She moved to Emmaus Preston in 2012 and the support she received from the charity changed her life. Karen is now employed by the charity to support others who are trying to find a way out of homelessness.

Karen gave Her Royal Highness a tour of the store, introducing her to companions, volunteers and staff from Emmaus communities across the North West. At the end of the tour, a choir from Emmaus Salford performed Christmas Carols for The Duchess.

Michael, companion at Emmaus Salford, said: “I love singing! Having a good sing song in front of royalty was amazing as it’s not something we do every day! It was great that Emmaus companions from different communities were there singing and dancing along with us.”

As part of the reception; Her Royal Highness purchased items from the Megastore and joined other guests by writing a message on a Christmas decoration, placing it onto the community Christmas tree.

Simon Locke, Community Director at Emmaus Salford, said: “The Sunny Salford Singers have only been singing together for a total of 12 hours supported by Brighter Sounds and for our first performance to be for royalty you can’t get a better gig! I think opportunities like this really bring communities together and the experience is something our companions will remember forever. I am really proud of the hard work the Sunny Salford Singers have put into preparing for and delivering this brilliant performance.”

There are six Emmaus communities across the North West located in Bolton, Burnley, Merseyside, Mossley, Preston and Salford. Across the UK there are currently 29 Emmaus communities, supporting more than 790 companions.