Queen and Duke of Edinburgh honour North East Volunteers at Alnwick
PUBLISHED: 17:05 27 July 2011 | UPDATED: 19:47 20 February 2013
The unsung heroes of caring and volunteering in Northumberland took centre stage with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at a Royal Garden party in the Alnwick Garden during June. Eileen Smith joined them
Carers and volunteers from all over Northumberland were given a royal pat on the back by Her Majesty the Queen at a lavish summer garden party in Alnwick.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were guests of honour at a huge garden party at Alnwick Castle and Garden, hosted by the Duchess of Northumberland, who in her role as Lord Lieutenant organised the event with Northumberland County Council, in recognition of the work of the countys thousands of carers.
There are so many people in Northumberland who give their time to help others, said the Duchess. This is our way of saying thank you for that commitment and contribution.
Thousands of well-wishers had earlier lined the streets of the market town to welcome the Royal couple, whose visit began with the opening of Alnwick Youth Hostel.
Then it was off to the castle, accompanied by the Duke and Duchess, and Deputy Lieutenant and Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, to meet some of the 8,000 carers and volunteers invited to the party.
At the magnificent Alnwick Garden, the Queen and Duke were given a warm northern welcome
by the crowds gathered there, including flag-waving youngsters from local schools.
The Queen, dressed in pink, was all smiles, as was the Duke, both of them taking a genuine interest in the people they had come to meet.
Even the rain, which had earlier threatened to spoil the party, stayed away, with outbreaks of warm sunshine throughout the day, and the Garden providing a perfect backdrop for the female guests in their beautiful outfits, many topped by hats and fascinators.
Refreshments were provided free of charge by Greggs bakers, whose staff had been on the go since the crack of dawn to ensure no-one went hungry. The guests tucked into tasty sandwiches, sausage rolls, croissants, Danish pastries, muffins, cup cakes and delicious strawberry tarts, while military bands entertained guests on the lawns.
Later in the day, Alan Shearer, cut into an enormous celebration cake - also made by Greggs - that was shared among the carers, who also left with a goodie bag - which included a free family pass to the Alnwick Garden.
North East Life was proud to be part of this historic, happy occasion and to capture it on camera.
Photographs by Andrew Smith and Jane Coltman, Chief Photographer, Northumberland Gazette
The print version of this article appeared in the August 2011 issue of North East Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here