A number of our members were recently invited to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace as a result of the club being nominated for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest honour given to local volunteer groups across the UK, equivalent to an MBE for an organisation, to recognise outstanding work done in the community.
People from all walks of life were present. We met a number of military personnel from around the world, including Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We spoke to a number of fellow charity representatives, covering a whole range of areas from environmental projects to community health & well-being as well as other sporting clubs.
As well as Her Majesty and Prince Philip, a number of other royals attended the party, including Princess Alexandra, Prince Andrew (Duke of York), Prince Edward (Duke & Earl of Wessex), Prince Michael of Kent and Prince Richard (Duke of Gloucester)
I was fortunate to see a number of other high profile figures (albeit from a distance) including Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York. There were also rumours that the Dalai Lama was present, however, despite seeing a number of people in Asian dress in the Royal Tea tent, I cannot say for certain that I saw him.
I briefly saw London based singer/songwriter Eliza Doolittle, who was there in recognition of her continued support of a number of charities including Bottletop, Nordoff-Robbins, Prince's Trust and the Small Steps Project.
A great day was had by all, with live music from two military bands (one either end of the garden) and plenty of food and drink.
The whole experience was made even better upon finding out subsequently that we had successfully won the award!
First sight of Buckingham Palace over The Mall,
the royal standard flying above the palace indicating that the Queen is in residence
Mum asked a local policeman if she could take a photo with him,
as they have a different uniform in the form of pointy helmets.
Not satisfied with the background, and to get all three of us into the picture, the aforementioned policeman and a colleague then proceeded to cone off one of The Mall's lanes and took our photo.
A long wait, but the gates finally open!!
Inside the garden
The Summer house
Duke of Kent with (I think) Duchess Katherine of Kent. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (II of England, I of Scotland/United Kingdom) and His Royal Highness Prince Philip. Also a Yeoman of the Guard (Beefeater)