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ASA volunteers attend Patron’s Lunch

A group of ASA volunteers attended the Patron’s Lunch, held on the Mall in London on Sunday 12 June to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The Queen has been patron of the ASA since 1953, and has always been a big supporter and champion of swimming.

The Patron’s Lunch is an event at which thousands of volunteers from organisations of which the Queen is patron come together to share thanks and best wishes with the monarch.

Young volunteers Toby Sanderson and Lucy Palfreyman attended the event and gave their account of the day

We were honoured to be chosen to attend this prestigious event as youth volunteers and members of the ASA National Youth Forum, alongside ASA President, John Bird, and CEO, Adam Paker.

The four of us, and a representative from each aquatic discipline, had a fantastic day in London.

Both from Retford, Nottinghamshire, and members of Retford Swimming Club, we are active swimmers and volunteers within our club and the wider community.

Lucy is a coach for Team Northumbria, where she attends university, and Toby is a Swimming and Open Water official. We both attended the Youth Sport Trust’s National Talent Camp in 2014.

Being uni students, it was a dream to have such fantastic food, including salmon, salads and cakes – certainly a welcome change from beans and cheese on toast!

A 5am start greeted us on the morning of the Patron’s Lunch, with a three-hour drive down into Central London. The early morning start didn’t dampen our spirits however, and we were both excited for the day ahead.

By the time we had queued and found our seats, the heavens had opened and it was slowly drizzling. Despite this, the great British spirit was still intact and the event was buzzing.

The entertainment began at midday, with a parade down the centre of the Mall. There were nine sections, one for each decade of Her Majesty’s life. After this, we tucked into our lunch, provided in specially-made hampers.

After the food, we were treated to some royal company! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry made their way down The Mall, chatting to the crowd and having photos. We both got to shake hands with Prince William and Prince Harry, something which made Lucy’s day!

Afterwards, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were driven past, waving at the crowds and taking in the atmosphere.

By this point, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining! As people removed their ponchos, the atmosphere of the event only increased, just as the Prince Harry and the Queen made some speeches.

On behalf of the ASA, we’d like to thank Her Majesty for being patron of our organisation and wish her a very happy birthday!

We’d also like to thank the ASA for providing us with this very special opportunity, which we’re definitely never going to forget!