March 16 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall took home personalised Christmas stockings decorated by children and even hung baubles on a tree in a festive visit to Barkingside on Tuesday.
It was a day to remember for employees and children at Barnardo’s, as well as the crowds gathered outside for the royal visit to the charity’s new headquarters on Tuesday.
The Queen has been patron of the charity for 30 years and Camilla was appointed its president in 2007, but they were not the only famous faces at the glittering opening.
Royal designer Bruce Oldfield, charity vice president and a former Barnardo’s boy, joined the royals, along with singer Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud, an ambassador for the charity.
The Queen and her daughter-in-law arrived in a chauffeur-driven Bentley on perfect time at 3pm, to the delight of excited crowds who had braved the cold to wait for hours outside the building.
Camilla was wearing a pale grey coat and dress appropriately designed by Mr Oldfield, while the Queen was in a cream and ice blue tweed coat.
They were briefly greeted by Sir David Brewer, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of London, the Mayor of Redbridge Cllr Felicity Banks and Barnardo’s acting chief executive Peter Brooks, before being whisked inside.
Delighted children clapped and cheered and staff lined corridors as the royal guests toured the building to learn about Barnardo’s services.
Louise Logan, 13, gave the Queen a bunch of flowers and also met Nicola from Girls Aloud and the Duchess of Cornwall.
She said: “She was really nice and asked how long I’d been going to the club. Camilla was nice too.”
Louise was left partially paralysed after a stroke when she was a baby and has learning difficulties caused by a genetic disorder inherited by all five of her brothers and sisters.
The family use Barnardo’s Indigo service, which works with Redbridge Council to offer trips and breaks for disabled children and their families.
Louise’s friend Musharif Ahmed, 15, also uses Inigo and has Downs Syndrome.
The Queen made him giggle when she said: “I bet you’re glad you’re not in school.”
During the tour, the royals were even told about the Better Barkingside regeneration programme while meeting council leader Cllr Keith Prince.
Mr Brook described the visit as a “huge honour” for the charity, which helps more than 200,000 vulnerable children a year.