An opera group for all ages were thrilled to meet the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton and appear in her royal carols at Westminster Abbey this Christmas.

The Intergenerational Opera, a music outreach programme in East Sussex which brings children and and elderly people together for workshops, were asked to take part in the Royal Carols for Christmas programme on Christmas Eve.

Professional opera singer Charlotte Wicks was contacted by the BBC last month but she never dreamed that it would lead to being a part of this year’s Royal Carols for Christmas at Westminster Abbey.

She was asked if she could recommend an older person who had caused a positive impact on school aged children.

Having just completed another five week Intergenerational Opera project at St Peter’s Primary school in Chailey, she knew of one very special lady who fitted the bill.

Brenda Ford, from Chailey, north of Lewes, has been a supporter of Intergenerational Opera since it began running projects with Chailey school three years ago.

The 85-year-old loves singing and learning with the children so wanted to get more involved with the sessions.

The BBC loved Brenda’s story and the positive impact she has had on three children in particular, Arwen and Jenson Woodhouse who have both done lots of reading work with Brenda and Poppy Jeffery, a talented singer who loved working with Brenda on the intergenerational opera project.

Once the children and parents agreed to be a part of the programme it was time for Charlotte, with the help of Rev Paul Mundy from St Mary's Church, Newick, to persuade Brenda to come to London for a day out without telling her she would be being filmed being surprised by the children from St Peter’s School.

Brenda took it all in her stride and was thrilled by the children who were thanking her for her time but also by the visit from Kate Middleton.

The 85-year-old spoke to the Princess about her work and she invited the group to the concert at Westminster Abbey, which was shown on ITV on Christmas Eve.

Charlotte Wicks, who co-founded the Intergenerational Opera said: “Our project helps increase social skills, build confidence and enhance overall wellbeing for both adults and children through creative music making.

“We also hope that the relationships formed between these two diverse age groups will have a far reaching positive impact on the community as a whole.”

Mrs Petrina Ferris, deputy head at Bluebell Federation of Schools – a group of three schools in East Sussex, said the project encourages communication and builds positive relationships between the two generations.

The schools in the Bluebell Federation are Chailey St Peter’s CE Primary School, Fletching CE Primary School and Forest Row CE Primary School.

Mrs Ferris added: “All this hard work has now led to this amazing experience for them. They met the Princess of Wales and she gave them all Christmas presents as well as the experience they all had filming with BBC.”