Local children join Queen for party

PUBLISHED: 08:45 24 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:05 22 October 2010


The finishing touches are being put to an amazing spectacle being held at Buckingham Palace tomorrow to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday and eight decades of children's literature.

Let the magic begin!

The finishing touches are being put to an amazing spectacle being held at Buckingham Palace tomorrow to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday and eight decades of children's literature.

About 60 lucky children from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will be among 2000 excited youngsters from all corners of the country who were picked at random for the Children's Party at the Palace from literally millions of entries.

An illustrated map has been unveiled to show the theme park which has been created in Buckingham Palace grounds for the day.

It a range of literature-linked features including the Hundred Acre Wood, Toad Hall landing station, Mad Hatters' tea party and Mr McGregor's Garden.

There will be an authors' corner with famous writers such as JK Rowling - who will be reciting from her latest Harry Potter book - alongside Michael Bond recounting how Paddington Bear munched his marmalade sandwiches all the way from Darkest Peru.

Paddington himself returned to the railway station he was named after yesterday (fri) on his way to the party.

The 5ft bear was seen strolling through commuters on a platform at the station eating a marmalade sandwich.

The main event of the day is a panto-style show - called The Queen's handbag - featuring a glittering array of celebrities such as Jonathan Ross, Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, the whole Blue Peter team - including Mabel the dog - Sophie dahl, Jerry Hall, Eastenders duo June Brown and Pam St Clement, Kelly Osbourne and Nicholas Lyndhurst.

One of the youngest children at the whole event will be Postman Pat fan Billy Elliott, of Ludham, who only reached the minimum age of four on May 27.

His brother Harry Potter-mad Jamie, six, and their mum Jo are going after being entered by nanny Maxine Farquharson.

Both boys attend Ludham First School - Billy is in the nursery and Jamie is in year one.

"They haven't talked about anything else and it's been like the countdown to Santa!" joked Mrs Elliott.

James Ingham, six, of Hethersett is another youngster looking forward to seeing Harry Potter. The Woodside First School, Hethersett, pupil will be accompanied by his 12-year-old cousin Lucy Smith, who attends Reepham High School, and his mum Nicola.

Holly John, eight, of Framingham Earl will be attending with her best friend at Poringland Primary School Lauren Pitchell, also eight. They will be escorted by Holly's mum Lucy who said: "It's going to be an amazing experience and one which will never happen again."

Andrew Groom, 11, and his nine-year-old brother Simon, from Lowestoft, have been "walking around in a daze" since hearing they would be going to the party along with their mum Fiona Coubrough.

Tody Lee, 10, of Ludham. a pupil at Stalham Middle School, and Courtney O'Connor, 10, from Martham, who goes to West Flegg Middle School, have Toby's granddad Alan Read to thank for their invitations.

He was in the top three of the Grandparent of The Year competition and so was asked to attend the party and chose Toby and Courtney, who are ballroom and Latin dance partners at Ludham Dance Centre.

Gabriella Booth, eight, and her mum Julie, of Dersingham, only live a stone's throw from the Royal estate at Sandringham, but they are as excited as anyone about sharing in the Queen's big day.

"Gabriella was amazed and stunned to be picked!" said Mrs Booth.

Among the other children attending from Norfolk - who were featured in Thursday's EDP - are Tom Clarke, 11, from Dereham and his sister Hannah, eight, and 10-year-old Trowse twins Lauren and Charlotte Foxhall.

*The show is live on BBC1 tomorrow from 6pm. It will be delayed if England's World Cup second round tie against Ecuador goes to extra time/penalties.

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