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Off to the Palace

PUBLISHED: 20:20 21 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 22 October 2010

IAN CLARKE

It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share a landmark birthday celebration with the Queen.

And a handful of lucky East Anglian youngsters will be joining a star-studded extravaganza at Buckingham Palace on Sunday in what is being billed as “the biggest children's party of all time.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share a landmark birthday celebration with the Queen.

And a handful of lucky East Anglian youngsters will be joining a star-studded extravaganza at Buckingham Palace on Sunday in what is being billed as “the biggest children's party of all time.”

The highlight of the Children's Party at the Palace seems certain to be a 75-minute specially written show called the Queen's Handbag featuring a glittering array of stars, including Harry Potter actors and actresses Dan Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron) and also celebrities such as Jerry Hall, Kelly Osbourne, Jonathan Ross, Julie Walters, Martin Clunes, Ronnie Corbett and Patsy Kensit.

Just 2,000 children from across the country - including 28 from Norfolk, 22 from Suffolk and 24 from Cambridgeshire - plus 1,000 adults will be attending the event to mark the Queen's 80th birthday and celebrate children's literature.

They were selected in a random ballot which was so popular it crashed the BBC website twice with 150 million hits.

Tom Clarke, 11, and his sister Hannah, eight, both pupils at Toftwood Junior School, Dereham, were amazed when a letter arrived from Air Vice Marshal David Walker, master of the Royal Household.

Along with their mum, Anita, 34, they will be entering the fantastical land being created at the Palace.

Tom said: “I was amazed when we were chosen and we are so lucky. I can't wait to see all my favourite book characters at this event.”

Hannah said: “I felt like Charlie Bucket when his golden ticket was pulled out to go in to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory!”

Meanwhile, twins Charlotte and Lauren Foxhall will be giving her majesty double vision at the big event.

The ten-year-olds, of Devon Way, Trowse, near Norwich, won the tickets and will take their mum Kay after their grandma Jennifer Baxter entered them into the draw.

Mrs Baxter said: “I couldn't believe it when they won. 10.5 million people entered and Lauren won!

“We'd totally forgotten about it when the letter arrived.

“It was obviously agreed that she would take her sister Charlotte - there are only three sets of twins going, and Charlotte and Lauren are one of them! The girls are so excited. And so is their mum.”

The girls are both at Trowse Primary School.

The show storyline will pick up from the end of Roald Dahl's BFG which, when published 20 years ago, left Sophie and the giant happily ensconsed in the Queen's grounds having asked her Majesty's help in capturing other giants.

Model Sophie Dahl will play the role her grandfather wrote for her, alongside a specially made BFG.

About 85 much-loved children's literature characters - including Winnie The Pooh, Mary Poppins, Postman Pat and Toad of Toad Hall will also be there.

There will be the Mad Hatter's Tea Party on the Queen's Terrace, a pirate beach in one of the lakes, a Thomas The Tank Engine station and AA Milne's Hundred Acre Wood.

All children will get a lunch hamper prepared by chef Jamie Oliver.

The show is being broadcast live on BBC1 and Princes William and Harry are due to attend. It is scheduled to start at 6pm, but could be delayed if England's World Cup match with Ecuador goes into extra time/penalties.

t Are you one of the other lucky local children going to the Palace for the party? If so, contact Ian Clarke at the EDP office at Dereham on 01362 698777.


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