Stay connected

A right Royal affair for Active and In Touch!

REPRESENTATIVES from local charity, Active and In Touch (A&IT), were honoured to recently attend a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. 

Attending the royal occasion were charity trustee, Jackie Bryant, and volunteer Patricia Baker. Also in attendance at the garden party were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which the charity was awarded last year. 

A&IT received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services for its work within Frome and the surrounding villages to help support those people who were feeling lonely and isolated before, and especially during, the pandemic. 

The charity reports, “Jackie and Patricia actually felt a little like royalty themselves as they were chauffeur driven from Frome to London by A&IT Trustee Richard Fry, who also gave a guided tour of parts of the capital into the bargain! Thus, they arrived at St James’ Palace, having seen the sights, and with enough time to spare for a welcome cuppa at a café, before making their way to Buckingham Palace and the Garden Party. 

“Queuing is not usually a pleasurable experience, but in this case, it was really quite entertaining. Jackie and Patricia joined the already quite lengthy file of guests wearing a variety of different outfits including military uniforms. Visitors to London exclaimed and took photos as they passed, helping the time to pass relatively quickly. Before too long, they were inside the walls and gates of the Palace, filing past the sentries on guard, including a Ghurka soldier in one of the sentry boxes, and quite heavily armed police. A rather sobering thought about the protection Her Majesty needed, but once around the ‘back’ of the Palace to the beautiful gardens where a military brass band was playing, this feeling lightened considerably. 

“Coincidentally and amazingly fortuitously, Jackie and Patricia joined a line of people already forming in the middle of the garden. ‘Coincidentally’ because they weren’t really sure of the purpose of this line, and fortuitously, as it turned out to be the receiving line for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! 

“Thus when, after a brief but heavy rain shower, on the stroke of four o’clock the members of the Royal Family emerged into bright sunshine – in addition to Kate and William, Edward and Sophie, Earl and Countess of Wessex, Richard and Birgitte the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Beatrice were in attendance – a cheer rose up when people in their line realised they were to see William and Kate, “who will one day be our King and Queen” pronounced Jackie, in awe. 

“Several small groups of people were presented to the royal pair, who were working their way independently down the lines. Prince William appeared focussed as he shook hands; with a smile he chatted briefly and then moved on, whilst Kate spoke with animation and spent longer with those she was in conversation with. 

“She also ‘veered off course’ on a couple of occasions to talk to someone else she had spotted. There were many Palace Officials in attendance, all resplendent in morning coat, striped trousers and immaculate grey top hat. One told Patricia that Kate was famous for doing this and that she invariably arrived at the end of her line considerably after William had finished his! This information was imparted with great affection for both of them. 

“Once the meet and greet session was completed, the Royals were whisked away into the Royal Tea Tent, to meet more invited guests personally, whilst Jackie and Patricia went to the tea tent, where endless cups of tea were available, alongside a variety of finger sandwiches cut with such precision they speculated that an engineering regiment had prepared them, delicate cakes and, a touch of home – Marshfield ice-cream! There was the opportunity for them to talk to other guests learning of why they had been invited. 

“Time for a stroll to the lake, the opportunity to hear the second brass band of the day whilst taking more photos and then it became apparent the royal party was preparing to leave. They all made their way to the entrance of Buckingham Palace, escorted by a double line of the Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest British military corps still in existence, resplendent in their distinctive uniform of royal red tunic, knee breeches and black hat. Guests followed them for part of the way, then veered off to exit via the gates. 

“Thus ended a day which Jackie ad Patricia will never forget! They both realised it had been a great privilege to attend, to represent all of Active and In Touch’s Volunteers, and to spread the news of the incredible and imaginative work they had undertaken throughout the pandemic to help and support others.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *