Champion Tom’s Royal honour

Tom McAlpine and Linda Wilson after their appointment at St James's Palace.

Tom McAlpine and Linda Wilson after their appointment at St James's Palace.

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IT was a date with Royalty never to be forgotten.

Tom McAlpine and his partner Linda Wilson, from Hartlepool, travelled to St James’s Palace in London to meet the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Tom was chosen by the Woman’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) as one of 70 champions to be honoured for their community work.

The couple were chosen for the work they do in running the Manchester-based charity called Moodswings.

It helps people recover from mood problems and the severe emotional distress they can cause.

But it was not just the Royal couple that Linda and Tom got to meet.

Linda, who is the Moodswings chief executive, explained: “There were quite a few celebrities there as well such as Philip Schofield, Felicity Kendal and Kimberley from Girls Aloud.

“They were all really nice and we had a chat with Philip who Tom knew already.

“There was food and drink and all the WRVS winners had their photographs taken with the celebrity ambassadors.

“It was a good day and I am very proud of Tom for being a winner. It is nice to see people being recognised for their work as volunteers.

“Sometimes that is overlooked and it is nice to see them getting that recognition.”

Tom, who is the father of Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine, who plays Fiz in the popular soap, was chosen as a WRVS champion at a WRVS regional event by a judging panel.

He has been involved in mental healthcare for more than 40 years and set up Moodswings in 1999. He is now its chairman.

It is Tom’s second appointment with Royalty this year after he visited Buckingham Palace in February to be awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Moodswings has a wealth of services including a helpline which is used by people in areas including Hartlepool.

It also provides a programme which provides some people with an alternative to living with mental illness.

And Moodswings also offers coping workshops. Its hotline can be contacted on (0161) 8323736 and the charity can be contacted via email on info@moodswings.org.uk