When I was a student, I once had a holiday job serving cakes at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. It was so long ago that I was allowed to just walk through the back gate of the Palace without anybody searching me or asking questions. The only check we had was a pair of eagle eyes making sure that the seam up the back of our black stockings was centrally placed and straight. As we were setting up, the heavens opened and suddenly there appeared a figure in a long raincoat over a pair of wellies, complete with headscarf and umbrella, coming to talk to us as we set out the food for the party. I remember feeling honoured that our Queen would bother to come out in such weather to thank us all before the proceedings got underway.
In 2012 KingsCare was the first group in Teignbridge to be awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. As part of the process, we had to choose 4 volunteers to go to a modern-day Garden Party at the Palace with plenty of security but no rain. It was a great day for them and a great honour for this organisation.
Now I am still working though way past retirement age. However, I still have many years to work to equal the dedication of Queen Elizabeth. I don’t intend doing that but truly admire that spirit that drove this remarkable lady to keep going and fulfil her promise to the nation made when she was just a young woman. She will be sorely missed.