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Team Hamish fundraiser Lily Hey from Nairn rubs shoulders with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

By Louise Glen

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Lily Hey met the Duke and Duchess at Kensington Palace.
Lily Hey met the Duke and Duchess at Kensington Palace.

A SUPERSTAR fundraiser from Nairn is in the running for a major award recognising her efforts in memory of her inspirational younger brother.

Lily Hey (13) also got the royal seal of approval when she met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with nine other finalists in the running to be named BBC Radio One Teen Hero.

Lily’s family established the Team Hamish charity to raise funds for cancer groups and to create a new splash park on the waterfront of their seaside town home.

Hamish Hey died aged eight in 2017 after an almost lifelong battle with cancer and his family have raised more than £50,000 in his memory since.

Lily has been a key part of the effort, organising fun runs, bucket collections, coffee mornings and bake sales.

Her trip to London to meet royalty earlier this month was made in strict secrecy.

Mum Susan Hey said: “It was very hush-hush and very quick when we found out we were invited to the palace for Lily. It has been difficult to keep it quiet for so long.”

She added: “Her grandma secretly nominated her for the award, and out of the thousands of people who applied Lily was named as one of the final 10.

“We couldn’t have been more delighted. Lily, her dad Sam and I were all invited to the event in Kensington Palace on October 1. It was an amazing experience.

“It still all seems a bit surreal.”

After meeting the other Teen Hero nominees, Lily and her family were invited to speak to the royal couple.

“We were in a room with the Duke and Duchess and we were talking about all the things that Lily has had to live with,” Mrs Hey said. “The Duke and Duchess listened intently as Lily spoke with passion about Team Hamish, Nairn’s incredible community and the wonderful fundraising from all over.

“It was very emotional.

“Not only did her brother have cancer but I do as well. Lily’s ‘normal’ is to be surrounded by cancer.

“She has seen things that most adults should not have to see, far less in her young life.

“But she is a survivor and has managed to create a normal life in spite of everything going on around her. We proudly listened as she spoke about living a life surrounded by cancer, treatment and the horrendous consequences of that.

“The Duke and Duchess were absolutely lovely to us all and most impressed with our vision for Nairn as a legacy for Hamish. We couldn’t feel prouder.”

The Teen Hero award will be presented on November 24 at a ceremony to be broadcast on BBC2 on November 30.

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