"We sang happy birthday and joyously waved our flags as we cheered." - The Patron's Lunch through the eyes of Amanda McDade
On Sunday 12th June 2016, my husband (ASR Lee McDade) and I headed to London to attend The Patron's Lunch - a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's patronage of over 600 charities and organisations in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. SASRA is honoured to have Her Majesty as our Patron, and we were thrilled and honoured to represent SASRA, alongside Area Representative Steve and Mrs Penny, Chairman Colonel John Lewis, and SASRA supporters, Mr and Mrs Barker and Mr and Mrs Charlton.
We arrived at our allocated gate at 10am. As we queued through the various security checks we enjoyed the excited atmosphere, chatting happily away with those around us, sharing with each other the details of the charities we were representing, along with details of where we had travelled from. During this time the skies opened up and heavy rain set in. Rather than being miserable, everyone just laughed it off as 'our typical British weather' - it certainly did not dampen the atmosphere one bit!
We collected our fabulous hampers which contained an enormous picnic of Scottish smoked salmon mousse, Pembrokshire chicken roulade salad, piccalilli pork pie, raspberry royale, sandwiches, cheese with oatcakes, butterfly cakes, apple juice and Pimms. We were also handed a wonderful gift bag containing goodies such as tissues, sun cream, mosturiser, a souvenir cup and saucer and most importantly, A PONCHO! The array of lovely summery outfits was soon replaced by the sight of 10,000 ponchos. It was particularly amusing to see everyone eating their complimentary ice creams in the rain! Not a sad face was to be found and the atmosphere was filled with the excitement felt by all at being a part of such a historical and special event.
At 12.30pm, after finding our tables and exploring our hampers and goodie bags, we positioned ourselves along the barriers for the parade. A banner was carried for each charity represented and we managed to spot the SASRA banner as well as a couple of Army Chaplain friends taking part in the parade! We then said grace and tucked into our delicious hampers and enjoyed each other's company.
At 2.30pm the rain stopped and the sun finally came out! Off came the ponchos and we all lined The Mall awaiting the arrival awaiting the arrival of Her Majesty and other Royal family members. From our position on The Mall we were able to to wave our flags and cheers for the Duke of York, Princess Anne, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, and the Duke and Duchess of Wessex (including Lady Louise). They all stopped and did a royal walkabout and we were absolutely thrilled that both the Duke and Duchess of Wessex separately came to the SASRA table and engaged in conversation! Of course the biggest highlight was to have Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip drive passed us twice in the open top vehicle. We sang happy birthday and joyously waved our flags as we cheered. Finally, we stood with 10,000 people and sang the national anthem in the presence of The Queen: what a spine tingling moment! We managed to snap a few photos but nothing can ever depict the wonderful atmosphere and the joy it was to share in share a historical event and wonderful occasion.
Happy 90th Birthday to Her Majesty the Queen. Thank you for being SASRA's patron and for all you have done and continue to do for our country.