"It was a great privilege for us to receive notification from the Lord Lieutenant that we had been nominated for invitation to the garden party. We had been involved in the local response to the pandemic, setting up a network and organising the group of volunteers who helped people during those periods of lockdown. Part of the honour of being invited was knowing that, in a sense, we were representing so many other people. Lots of people, including the volunteers, did so much more than us to help people over the last two years and so it was a great honour to go.
Once the formal invite had come from the palace there was a new suit to buy and of course Claire needed a new dress and fascinator and all of the trimmings and then the day itself arrived. Unfortunately it was a very wet day, but that did not spoil the occasion in any way, it was so good to be there that we could have been in 3ft of snow and still enjoyed it. We managed to get in quite early and find the food tent bumping into Bishop James, followed by a walk around the gardens and lake. On the way back from the lake we saw a massive scrum in the middle which was where Charles, Camila and Anne would walk their way towards the royal tent. We managed to see the back of Camila's hat and Charles through the crowd but that was as close as we got.
While you are there you can enjoy much of the gardens at the back of the palace with two bands (one from the Guards and one from the RAF) playing in turn. We made another trip to the food tent (the cakes were amazing and not a cucumber sandwich in sight) where we also managed to catch up with Nicki Quayle, our local RABI rep and rounded of the day with another (rain free) walk through the gardens, being one of the last out to make the most of it.
At the start we mentioned what a privilege it was and certainly a day that we will never forget. Our thanks do go to those who did so much to support the people of the community, during the pandemic we did see the gospel in action with so many people "loving their neighbour" and it was great to be able to mark and remember this love in action."