Pat McClelland, Lead Volunteer at our Airedale Shopping Centre charity shop in Keighley, West Yorkshire, was among the guests invited to Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Annual Royal Garden Party in May.
Each year, the Queen welcomes more than 30,000 guests for an afternoon in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Invited guests are chosen for the positive impact they’ve made in their own communities.
Pat was invited in tribute to her inspiring commitment to Sue Ryder as Lead Volunteer at our shop in the Airedale Shopping Centre, Keighley, where she has volunteered since it opened six years ago. She also supports our Skipton charity shop a couple of days a week.
The nomination for Pat to attend was made by Sue Ryder Regional Manager Glynn Taylor and Commercial Director David Borrett in recognition of her hard work and loyalty to the team of volunteers at the shops.
So let’s hear about the big day from Pat herself!
"It was a big surprise but I feel very honoured"
"I was one of just four people from Sue Ryder nominated and the only volunteer from any of the 460 shops," she says. "It was a big surprise, but I feel very honoured. I love my work and am part of a great team.
"It was an absolute thrill to be nominated to attend the Royal Garden Party, and fantastic to actually be able to attend with my daughter, Jayne. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget (in spite of the rainy weather!).
"I got to see the Queen looking lovely in her pink suit; Prince Harry was also there, as were Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!"
"A random act of kindness"
"After leaving the garden party, my daughter and I decided to have a glass of prosecco at the bar in Paddington Station as we waited for the train. Whilst ordering my drinks, I met a gentleman who asked me where I had been as I was 'looking lovely'.
"I explained that I had been nominated to attend the Royal Garden Party in recognition for my inspiring commitment to Sue Ryder.
"As soon as he heard the name 'Sue Ryder', the gentleman insisted on paying for my drinks as his wife was looked after by Sue Ryder Nurses before her passing 18 months previously.
"This random act of kindness by a stranger just goes to show how well thought of the Sue Ryder charity is and I am proud to be a Lead Volunteer for them."
Could you be our next Sue Ryder volunteer?
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Digital Officer - Retail
Rhi works in our digital team looking after the retail social media channels and supporting our shops' online presence. As well as believing in the power of charity shops as a fundraising tool, she loves dogs, dancing and a lovely cup of tea.