William and Kate praise ‘amazing’ communities fundraising for quake-hit families

The Prince and Princess of Wales have praised “amazing” communities fundraising for families left homeless after the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

William and Kate visited a west London community centre to hear harrowing stories from aid workers, recently returned from the disaster zone, who described desperate scenes of rescuers trying to free trapped people with just hammers.

The visit to meet partner members of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal coincided with the announcement the total had reached £121 million exactly four weeks after its launch.

In a lighter moment, the couple joined two schoolgirls who made hundreds of origami cranes to raise funds for the appeal – and guided the royals as they created the birds from paper.

In the Hayes Muslim Centre the couple were told £30,000 was raised by the local community, with £18,000 from the total collected in just two hours after Friday prayers.

Kate said: “It’s sad that there’s a need to do funding – it’s amazing there are communities like this here raising (funds).”

As a mark of respect the couple removed their shoes and Kate covered her head with a scarf as the centre, which is a resource for the wider community providing cultural, sporting and educational events, is also a mosque.