Two long-serving staff from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) have rubbed shoulders with royalty after they were nominated by colleagues to attend a garden party hosted by the Queen.
Micki Munro and Amanda Bobby travelled to Buckingham Palace on Thursday 28 May after receiving invitations to the "once in a lifetime" event earlier in the year. After entering the palace's main gates, they were served tea, sandwiches and cakes alongside other guests in the "immaculate" gardens, before several members of the Royal Family joined the party.
The duo were nominated to go to the palace by NSFT Chair Gary Page and Debbie White, Director of Operations in Norfolk and Waveney, in recognition of their loyalty to the Trust after both clocked up over 30 years of service.
"It was absolutely brilliant and I was thrilled to bits to be invited," said Amanda, who is a Community Mental Health Nurse and works with the older people's service in Great Yarmouth. "It was a one off and something I will never get the chance to do again in my lifetime, so it's great to have ticked it off the list.
"We had a fantastic day and couldn't have been luckier with the weather. It was incredible to walk in through the main gates which you stand looking through as a child, then through the palace into the immaculate gardens. We were lucky enough to get a really clear view of the Queen as she entered the gardens and stood right next to the Duke of Kent. It was such a great experience and we were really pleased to be nominated."
Micki and Amanda have known each other since they joined the Trust, and completed some of their training together. Micki, who is Acting Locality Manager for Central Norfolk, said the fact they were able to attend the party together made it extra special.
"It was a lovely day and really nice that Amanda and I were able to go together," she said. "It's not something that everybody gets to do and was a real experience and a privilege to be there – especially walking through the front gates with all of the tourists peering at us!
"The grounds were absolutely beautiful and the food was really lovely. There were lots of people there from all walks of life, including volunteers, people who have served in the forces and hospice staff, and it was quite humbling to be there alongside some people who have done some fantastic things."