I’m a Derian House volunteer and I was honoured to be invited to Prince William's royal garden party!

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This long-serving volunteer was treated like royalty at the future King’s garden party!

A loyal volunteer who has dedicated more than 30 years of her life to helping the children and families at Derian House Children’s Hospice has been honoured at a royal garden party.

Val Sharp, 65, of the Ribble Valley, attended the Royal Garden Party, hosted by Prince William, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, May 21 in recognition of her unwavering support.

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Val has dedicated an estimated 3,000 hours over three decades to Derian House, helping to take children and their siblings out on trips.

Val Sharp, the volunteer, at Buckingham Palace.Val Sharp, the volunteer, at Buckingham Palace.
Val Sharp, the volunteer, at Buckingham Palace. | Derian House

She was part of the original support group that set up the hospice in 1993 when it first opened its doors to the public, and began by volunteering on the reception desk, providing her time and expertise for free.

Val’s passion for the charity was recognised by the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, Mrs Amanda Parker JP, who nominated Val to receive an invitation to the annual royal event after learning about her length of service during a visit to Derian House at the hospice 30th anniversary open day.

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Val, who lives in Slaidburn with her husband, said: “It was quite a privilege to be invited to the Royal Garden Party hosted by Prince William. 

Val and her husband John at the garden party,Val and her husband John at the garden party,
Val and her husband John at the garden party, | Derian House

“I was so pleased to find out I had been nominated to attend, and quite touched that it had come because of my time at Derian House. 

“I was surprised actually that I had been the only one invited when there are so many other deserving people who get involved with Derian.”

Val and her husband John were dressed to the nines as they joined 8,000 others at the exclusive garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

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Val's invite to Buckingham PalaceVal's invite to Buckingham Palace
Val's invite to Buckingham Palace | Derian House

Even the rain couldn’t dampen guest’s spirits as, armed with umbrellas, they watched the arrival of Prince William and members of the Royal Family while the band played the National Anthem.

Val said: “We were able to help ourselves to lots of tea, sandwiches and cake under the marquee.

“We had a walk around the 40-acre gardens, where there was a lovely rose garden and an enormous lake in the middle. 

“It really was a very good day and I feel very privileged to have been a part of it.”

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Val enjoying her day at the garden party despite the rain.Val enjoying her day at the garden party despite the rain.
Val enjoying her day at the garden party despite the rain. | Derian House

Garden Parties are a way for members of the Royal Family to meet a broad range of people who have made a positive impact in their community.

Frances Lees, Volunteer Coordinator at Derian House, said: “The time and expertise that Val has put into Derian House is invaluable. We are so glad that she has been recognised with such a majestic occasion and we’re glad she enjoyed herself – even despite the rain!

“It was during Derian House’s 30th birthday celebrations last year that I was approached by the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire looking for a nomination for the Royal Garden Party. 

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“Of course I had to mention Val, she is a fantastic volunteer. We are very lucky to have her.”

Derian House, based in Chorley, cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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