Post written by Jill Appleton, Development Worker in Birmingham.
Last year The Feast in Birmingham was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – a fantastic honour and something of which we are extremely proud. However, it didn’t stop there – this year we were delighted to receive two invitations to attend the Queen’s Patron’s Lunch on The Mall.
We have a fantastic group of volunteers, so it was hard to choose who should go, but we all agreed on Alisha. Alisha came to The Feast through Head Start in the Autumn of 2015, and has stayed ever since. She has given up lots of time to help out at youth events and has become a valued member of the team.
It was with much excitement that Alisha and I met at New Street Station on Sunday 12th June, ready for an amazing day out. Along with 9998 others, we made our way to London’s Mall and arrived just as the rain started to fall. Fortunately, the organisers had thought of everything and inside our bag of goodies was (optimistically) some sun tan lotion, tissues and an enormous rain poncho.
We donned our ponchos, collected our picnic hampers and settled down for a day of celebration. The rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, least of all the people who were in the parade. We enjoyed chatting with the other guests, all of whom represented other charities, and we particularly enjoyed tucking in to the amazing food in our hampers.
The highlight of the day was meeting Prince William and The Duchess of Cambridge. By the time they had walked the length of The Mall, to where we were standing, they were running late but still stopped to shake our hands and say hello. We felt incredibly privileged to be there, to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and recognise her commitment to charities. The sun came out as the Queen and Prince Philip drove up The Mall – I’m sure HM waved at us – and 10,000 less soggy guests sang Happy Birthday.
On the train journey home, in true Feast style, Alisha and I learned more about each other and our families’ backgrounds. We are good friends now, brought together by The Feast and by our mutual desire to make a difference, bring people together and change the world. And eat food fit for a Queen!