FIVE formerly homeless people enjoyed a Zoom call with the Duchess of Cornwall after her planned visit had to be postponed because of the second lockdown.

Camilla was planning to visit Emmaus Brighton and Hove earlier this month as part of her role as patron of Emmaus UK.

Then the new coronavirus restrictions came in and put an end to that.

Instead the duchess sent the community a hamper of treats and the Emmaus team looked for alternative ways for a meeting to go ahead, turning to technology to make it happen.

The charity arranged to speak to the duchess on Wednesday last week with five formerly homeless Emmaus members on the call, along with chief executive Christine Squince and community support worker David Pilkington.

They discussed the challenges of lockdown and Camilla said how disappointed she was not to have been able to visit them in person.

Emmaus supports people to work their way out of homelessness by providing work, training, support and a stable home.

The Argus: The hamper given to Emmaus by the Duchess of CornwallThe hamper given to Emmaus by the Duchess of Cornwall

Member Graham Timmons spoke to her about his work arranging collections and deliveries at the community and even managed to share a joke.

He said: “I am the first Timmons to meet a royal, so I told Her Royal Highness that and she said ‘be careful what you wish for!’. We all laughed.”

Another companion, who did not want to be named, spoke of the benefits of living with so many people during lockdown.

He said: “It was a great privilege to talk to the duchess and answer her questions about the catering I’ve been providing for companions during lockdown. I look forward to future discussions and support.”

Read more: Brighton and Hove City Council's homeless challenge

Chief executive Christine is at the end of her 17-year career with the charity and was thrilled to be able to speak with the duchess before she leaves.

She said: “After the disappointment of the recent visit not going ahead, we were delighted that a Zoom call with Her Royal Highness could be arranged – and just in time to mark my final days at Emmaus Brighton and Hove.

“It will be a special memory for me and everyone else at the community.”