Volunteers and carers delight in Queen’s visit to Northumberland

Seghill RFC volunteers George and Margaret Arnott, Sheila Burgess, Pat Heard and Neil Renney in the shadow of Alnwick Castle after taking part in the Queen's visit to the town.
Seghill RFC volunteers George and Margaret Arnott, Sheila Burgess, Pat Heard and Neil Renney in the shadow of Alnwick Castle after taking part in the Queen's visit to the town.

VOLUNTEERS from south east Northumberland were among the thousands who were invited to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Alnwick on Wednesday.

At the invitation of the Lord Lieutenant, the Duchess of Northumberland, carers and volunteers from across our region were invited to two special garden parties, one within Alnwick Castle and the other within the Garden.

Representing Seghill Rugby Club were George and Margaret Arnott, Sheila Burgess, Pat Heard and Neil Renney.

And Glenn McCrory, the only north east boxer ever to become world champion, was at the Alnwick Garden in his capacity as deputy Lord Lieutenant and patron of Silx Teen Bar in Blyth.

He said: “It’s great to be able to have an input but that’s why they made us deputy lieutenants – to get them involved and to thank them for the great job they do.

“It gives a lot of children and young adults something to do in Blyth, otherwise they would be out causing chaos.

“But there are so many people here that do very good things. It’s great that the Duchess realises it and works so hard to connect with young people.”

He added that he was ‘totally thrilled’ to be introduced to the Queen.

Jackie Long, from Silx Teen Bar, said: “It’s really exciting and a lovely, lovely honour to have our patron Glenn with us.”

Jill Grahamslaw and Thomas Arthurs, from the Blyth Valley Disability Forum, said that meeting the Royal couple was a ‘pleasure and honour’ but also described it as ‘surreal’.

“To actually shake her hand was brilliant,” added Jill.

Joseph Jackson, from the Wansbeck Centre for Voluntary Service, said: “It’s an extreme honour, and these things are so rare.

“It’s wonderful for the town and wonderful for us as an organisation – it’s great recognition for the work we do.”

David Murray, from the Cramlington Voluntary Youth Service, said: “It was nerve-racking but she was lovely.

“She was quite impressed that we won the Queen’s Award two years ago.

“And our project co-ordinator Robert Hall has been awarded the MBE for youth work so he will be seeing her again!”

Ann McDougall, from Girlguiding Northumberland, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was a great honour as volunteers to have been invited.

“We do it for the fun of it and to help the girls reach their full potential but it’s nice, as adults, to be invited to something like this.”

The Queen, who looked radiant in a pastel pink outfit, despite the chilly showers, received rapturous applause as she happily chatted to the guests.

She was shown introduced to by the Duchess of Northumberland and the Deputy Lieutenant, Alan Shearer.

The Duke, who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this month, paused frequently to chat and joke with the crowd, and received hearty cheers from onlookers.