THE family of a youngster who sat next to Kate Middleton when she visited a children's hospice are thrilled after the duchess recorded a video message supporting the charity.

The Duchess of Cambridge said the work of children's hospices was "remarkable" in the video message, which was recorded at Clarence House.

Nine-year-old Lea Clarke, from Lawford, sat next to Kate during a music session when she came to visit The Treehouse hospice in Ipswich last year.

Mum Jo, dad Jon, twin sister Abbi and older brother Kieran, 13, have been supported by EACH - East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices - since Lea was born with a mystery illness which saw her suffering up to 150 fits a day.

Jo said: "The Duchess was smiling and showing a real interest in what Lea was doing and her smile was so genuine and warm. It was a very special moment."

Lea's family were delighted by the Duchess's special message of support, which marked the start of Children’s Hospice Week.

She is the royal patron of EACH.