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Celebrating the Queen's birthday

It was my very great pleasure to be one of the 10,000 ticket holders for the patrons’ picnic on the Mall in London for the celebrations of the Queen’s official 90th birthday on 12 June.

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The rain didn’t stop this parade! (l-r) Dorothy Toyn, Sue England, Philip Hulse and me

The Queen has been patron of the CSP since 1953, and attended the opening ceremony of World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress when it was held in London in 1991. Each year we are also invited to select a group of members to attend a royal garden party.

However 90th birthdays – official or otherwise – are special occasions and what a privilege it was to attend the patrons’ picnic with the CSP’s vice chair Philip Hulse, treasurer and chair of the CSP Charitable Trust Sue England, and chair of the Members’ Benevolent Fund Dorothy Toyn.

Having seen the forecast, we weren’t surprised to have immediate need for the plastic ponchos that were provided (umbrellas being on the banned items list). But as the rain poured down during the morning we did wonder if we’d really been sent on some sort of extreme survival team-building exercise!

However this was an event where the guests were volunteers who go out in all weathers on behalf of their organisations and charities. So we huddled under trees in our matching ponchos, bonding in adversity whilst casting icy stares at those who had somehow managed to smuggle in a brolly!

Physiotherapists in attendance

It was inspiring to meet and talk to people who have given so much of their time to different causes. We also met several physiotherapists who were there with different organisations – somehow we get everywhere and always manage to congregate.

It was all getting reminiscent of those sodden family picnics eaten in the boot of our old estate car. Then the rain stopped in time for us to eat. The hampers were amazing and in particular the piccalilli pork pie was delicious.

There was so much food I took more than half of it home with me. Of course being very British the longest queues of the day were for the never-ending supply of tea.

The sun came for the entertainment. Highlights included spotting the CSP’s name on one of the yellow placards during the mid-afternoon parade of charity representatives. The CSP placard was carried by Leonard Cheshire Disability physio Susan Uncles from West Sussex who was there with her physio colleague Linda Beadnall from Kent.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge

We also met Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge during the royal walkabout. They were both interested to hear that we were representing physiotherapy and Kate even admired my bright pink jacket (I had no idea I would match the Queen!)

I know there will be some scepticism and criticism from those members who are republican-leaning or who disapprove of the cost of the event. I have sympathy and respect for those views. (Tickets sold for £150 each in the public ballot: the CSP paid for two, but two were free).

While the event was an opportunity to thank the Queen for her long patronage it was also a fund raising venture, setting up of the Patron’s Fund which more than 350 of the patron’s charities can make bids to.

It was a really special day that I feel honoured and fortunate to have been able to attend. My only disappointment was missing my road’s street party – they didn’t have a parade but they did have egg and spoon relays!

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Post date:

15 June 2016

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