Royal garden party honour for Gillian

Morpeth Town Council’s clerk enjoyed an unforgettable day at the home of the Royal Family.

Gillian Turner got to see an area of Buckingham Palace not open to the public when she was invited to a garden party at the London venue.

She attended the event with Anne Shaw, her friend since junior school days. She was nominated by the Northumberland Association of Local Councils.

“It was a great honour to be asked to go to the garden party and I felt proud to be representing Morpeth,” she said.

“It was an absolutely brilliant sunny day. After going through the main palace, we were taken to the private gardens, which included a beautiful lake, and marquees were set up on the lawn.

“We had some light refreshments and ice creams were served on silver trays.

“Soon afterwards, the Queen, Princess Anne and Princess Beatrice came down and when I saw the flash of pink from the lovely outfit she was wearing, I knew the Queen was walking along our line. Although she didn’t speak to us, it was still very exciting.

“It was a wonderful day and we also enjoyed speaking with some of the other guests.”

Ms Turner then went down south again as she and Morpeth Mayor Alison Byard attended the official ceremony to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. It took place on Runnymede Meadows in Surrey.

Those present included the Queen, patron of the Magna Carta Trust, other senior members of the Royal Family and parliamentarians led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Since starting her role as clerk for Morpeth Town Council in December 2004, Ms Turner has led the authority’s bloom competition entries and in partnership with Northumberland County Council, Morpeth Chamber of Trade and Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, Morpeth has achieved some amazing success.

The town has received the Northumbria in Bloom Best Town award and a gold medal in each of the last nine years.

In 2013, after coming very close on four occasions in previous years, it won the RHS Britain in Bloom Best Town crown, along with the gold standard and the Young People’s Award. Sanderson Arcade and the Chamber of Trade received the national competition’s Commercial Award.

Morpeth’s summer judging for Northumbria in Bloom will take place on Tuesday, July 14.

As well as the usual places such as Carlisle Park, the Millennium Green off Newgate Street, Sanderson Arcade, the displays in front of Morpeth Clock Tower, Deuchar Park and the Northumberland County Blind Association’s headquarters in Low Stanners, the judges will be taken to Abbeyfields First School as staff and pupils have done some floral activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the WI movement.

In addition, there is some new street furniture in the town centre in the form of barrels and planters.

To help prepare for the judging day, a clean-up day is being held on Sunday, July 12.

Those who want to help out are asked to meet at the Riverside Leisure Centre at 10am. For more information, call 01670 514314.