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Kate Middleton launches Blue Peter garden competition

© BBC/PAThe Duchess of Cambridge making a shelter with local children and Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell at Westminster City Council's recreation ground.
The Duchess of Cambridge making a shelter with local children and Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell at Westminster City Council's recreation ground.

The Duchess of Cambridge is launching a Blue Peter competition, asking children to design a sculpture for her Back To Nature garden.

Kate is calling on viewers to come up with an idea, using natural materials, for visitors to play or interact with, based on the theme of nature.

The winning entrant will have their sculpture built and installed in the duchess’s Chelsea Flower Show garden when it moves to RHS Wisley in Surrey in September.

The duchess, who is already a gold Blue Peter Badge holder, appears in a special film, being shown on Thursday’s edition of the BBC programme and is given a green Blue Peter Badge for her efforts.

She talks about her love of the outdoors and how her children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are “dragged outside”, whatever the weather.

Kate is shown taking part in pond dipping, planting and team den building with Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell and local school children at Westminster City Council’s Paddington Recreation Ground.

She tells Russell how she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors, laughing saying: “Rain or shine, they’re dragged outside.

“It’s great. It encourages creativity, confidence and even a short amount of time – 10 or 15 minutes outside – makes a huge difference to both physical well-being but also to our mental well-being.”

The duchess, with her sleeves rolled up and gardening gloves on, plants flowers in a metal watering can, as the school children use old wellies as up-cycled plant pots.

She tells how, while looking for newts and tadpoles, pond dipping is “massively up my street, yes definitely. I love it”.

Chatting to the children, Kate says: “What things have you guys found when you’ve been here? …Do you know what the tadpoles eventually turn into? Have you ever seen any froggies?”

As one girl picks up a newt, Kate says: “Look at you. Well done. That is amazing.”

Kate and Russell are also challenged to a team building competition by young gardener and RHS ambassador George Hassall, who splits the group into Team Catherine and Team Lindsey.

“There’s so many cool things in here,” Kate says as they as they search for logs for their structure.

“I love it, but I am in your hands,” the duchess says of den building.

Crouched inside her finished den, the duchess asks the children: “Shall we make a name for our den? What do you think we should we call it?.”

To the idea Den Of The Day, she replies: “Den of the Day – I like that. Well done. You did an amazing job and you did it seriously quickly.”

When the winner is announced as Team Catherine, Kate gives a “woo”, a double thumbs up and claps.

The duchess, dressed casually in her buttoned-up Troy Tracker jacket, black skinny trousers and sage-coloured pumps, was wearing her gold Blue Peter badge.

A delighted Kate was presented with a new green “environment, conservation and nature” Blue Peter badge.

Kate gained her rare gold badge after appearing on the show with husband the Duke of Cambridge in 2017, receiving the honour for their work on children’s mental health.

The winning sculpture will be built and installed in Kate’s garden at RHS Wisley.

The Royal Garden competition, which runs from June 13 to June 25, is part of the duchess’ mission to encourage children and families to get back to nature, and highlight the positive impact that nature and the environment can have on childhood development

Her woodland wilderness garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in May featured a high-platform tree house, a rope swing, a rustic den and a campfire as well as tree stumps, stepping stones and a hollow log for children to play on.

George, Charlotte and Louis were taken on a visit to see it by Kate and William, and the Cambridge children spent around an hour playing in its stream and running around its woodland paths.

:: The Blue Peter episode featuring the duchess will be shown on Thursday June 13 on CBBC at 5.30pm.