Hartlepool councillors' date with royalty
Two Hartlepool councillors enjoyed an unforgettable day when they were invited to one of The Queen's royal garden parties.
Conservative Councillors Ray Martin-Wells and Brenda Loynes were delighted to receive the invite to Buckingham Palace to represent Hartlepool Borough Council.
They came within feet of The Queen and princes Andrew and Edward.
Councillor Loynes said: “We were honoured to represent Hartlepool at such a prestigious event as one of The Queen’s formal garden parties in Buckingham Palace.
“The whole afternoon was amazing from military bands to the actual palace and grounds; a day we will never forget.
“It could not have been a better day as it was clear blue skies and not a cloud in sight.
“The highlight being as the royal party left we were just feet away from Her Majesty The Queen, Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Wessex.”
They were joined by their respective partners Dennis Loynes and Andrew Martin-Wells who were among 8,000 invited guests from all over the country.
Every summer, The Queen hosts three garden parties at Buckingham Palace, and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland.
Buckingham Palace says they are an important way for The Queen to speak to a broad range of people from all walks of life, all of whom have made a positive impact in their community.
Historically, they have taken the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes, and have evolved into a way of recognising and rewarding public service.
Around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed at each one.
Coun Loynes and Coun Martin-Wells also recently rubbed shoulders with another high profile figure – Prime Minister Theresa May.
Two weeks prior to the royal garden party they were invited to an event at 10 Downing Street due to Coun Martin-Wells being Conservative constituency chairman and Coun Loynes a Conservative councillor.
Coun Loynes gave the PM a brochure from a recent Investors Event held at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool outlining the various regeneration works taking place in the town.
They also spoke about the then upcoming local elections, when Coun Loynes was up for re-election for Rural West ward, with Mrs May saying she would take a keen interest in the results.