Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visited Keswick today.

The royal couple were there to meet volunteers and community representatives nominated by Cumbria Community Foundation, including Howgill Family Centre, Calderwood House and Keswick Mountain Rescue.

Andy Beeforth, CEO at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “I think it was very special. It was a great opportunity for local groups to talk about the experience of the people who help and the Duke and Duchess were clearly genuinely interested in what people had to say.

“It was a great opportunity to recognise and thank the volunteers and staff from the various charities.”

Karl Sanderson, family support team manager at Howgill Family Centre, said: “It was really wonderful - a really positive experience. They took a lot of interest in the work we are doing and the way we do it. Kate asked us about the challenges we face.”

Louise Messenger, child and family health manager added: “She was quite easy to talk to. It was a great experience. It was good of them to take the time and interest in what the community are doing.”

Billy Robinson, one of a group of teenagers from Maryport who are tackling youth mental health issues with their group We Will, said their work resonated with the Duchess.

He said: “She was lovely. She said she was amazed by our work and the changes we have been making to the local community.

“She said it resonated strongly with her and her passion for mental health. She said just keep up the work you are doing.

“It was amazing that she took notice. When we started out we said wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet William and Kate and I don’t think we thought we would actually meet them. She said she would watch our film.”

Hanah Pantley, 18, also of the We Will group, said: “She was really engaged with what we were saying. We all have similar interests. It’s just amazing to know we have got something in common with the royals.”

Rachel Holliday, who runs homeless hostel Calderwood House in Egremont and recently set up the Women out West Centre in Whitehaven to help women in Whitehaven, said it was “amazing” to speak to the Duke and Duchess.

She said she was also “majorly excited” to hand over some of Calderwood House’s own blended coffee to Prince William, who had queried the brand’s slogan, ‘owz it gaan’ - Cumbrian slang for ‘how’s it going?’

She said: “They were so friendly and down to earth and interested to hear about Calderwood House. Kate was really interested to hear all about the women’s centre. She was just lovely.”

Keith Duck, who was previously homeless and now works at Calderwood House, said Prince William was really interested to hear about his experience.

“It was brilliant. He was right down to earth and just really wanted to know a bit about myself and why I was homeless. He had a bit of a chuckle that I was guard of honour for his grandma and grandad for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in Preston and Wembley in 1977.”

Angela Good, of South Workington Youth Partnership - a youth, disability and community charity -said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. They are a lovely, lovely couple and seemed genuinely interested in what we were saying. Kate was marvellous with Sarah and asked her about her Duke of Edinburgh gold award. She’s so beautiful.”

The royal couple also knelt down to pet spaniels Max, Paddy and Harry, as they chatted to owner Kerry Irving, a mental health campaigner, before taking part in a walkabout through Market Square to greet the crowds.

Heather Selkirk, 35, of Whitehaven, had arrived early to bag herself a front-line spot. She said: “I’m the number one fan, I’m a proper royalist. I’ve been here since 9 o’ clock.”

Claire Bell, of Keswick, who was marking her 63rd birthday with her mother, Margaret Bragg, 86, said: “We both shook Prince William’s hand. He was so lovely, just talking to everybody.”

Her mother added: “I shook hands with the future King!”

The Duke and Duchess also visited a traditional fell sheep farm.