KATE Middleton’s Hetton roots could bring a major tourism boost to the Wearside town.
Hetton has been thrust into the national spotlight ever since it was revealed that Prince William’s fiancee hails from a pit family, with her great-great-great-great grandfather James Harrison, moving there in 1821.
Now residents and town leaders are hoping the interest will lead to a boost in the Hetton’s popularity and attract visitors from across the globe.
John Price, of Hetton Town Council, said: “There has been a lot of interest created in the town and internationally as well.
“Although there are people in Hetton district who are aware of their connection with the Middleton family, at this moment we are just pleased that Hetton has been mentioned nationally and has been recognised.”
Mr Price said the town may also see a rise in tourists stopping off to see where the ancestors of the future queen once lived and worked.
He said: “I’m sure if someone was really keen to research her ancestors they would like to come here.
“It’s slightly different...but we get lots of visits from Liverpool fans coming to see the memorial to former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley, so I’m sure people would want to visit the town because of this.”
The house where Kate’s grandmother and great grandparents lived no longer exists, after Nicholas Street was demolished two years ago.
But there are plenty of people proud to be from Hetton after news of the engagement broke.
Mum-of-three Stacey Napping, 35, of nearby Blossom Street, said: “I think Kate should be proud of her roots, although I’m sure she is.
“It’s funny really because you don’t usually think that a future queen’s relations used to work down the pits, just like most people round here did.
“I think it maybe shows that the royal family is moving with the times and makes them a bit more likeable, I think.
“I like the fact that everyone is talking about Hetton.
“It’s not often I hear the place I live being talked about so much nationally and that surely can only be a good thing.”
Michael Barnard, 72, of Regent Street, said: “All I’ve heard is people talking about how Kate Middleton’s family are from here many years ago.
“While I’m not too bothered about the wedding, I think it’s another thing for all of us who are from here to be proud of.”
Pat Fryer, 62, of Blossom Street, said: “There’s nothing new about royalty and Hetton because we’ve already got all of the connections with the Bowes-Lyon family and the Queen Mum – we’ve got a Bowes Lyon pub down there.
“As far as the royal wedding is concerned, I couldn’t care less whether they get married or not, I mean his dad managed to make a right hash of it.”