Children First Derby Fundraising Coordinator, Gina Repton, and Fundraising Volunteer, Sandra Harrison, were delighted to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, as a belated celebration of winning the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

In November 2020, our team of volunteers at Children First Derby were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for the vital work they do to support the charity, dedicated to working with local vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people, and their families.

The prestigious award, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and described as the MBE for charities, was officially presented to a small group of Children First Derby representatives by H M Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mrs Elizabeth Fothergill CBE, back in November 2020.


Ordinarily, two charity representatives would have been invited to Buckingham Palace shortly after the official presentation, to celebrate the honour of receiving the Queen’s Award. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time, this celebratory visit was put on hold.

Chosen charity representatives Gina and Sandra were therefore delighted when they recently received an official invitation from the Lord Chamberlain, commanded by Her Majesty the Queen, inviting them to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace as a belated celebration. 

Undeterred by the persistent rain, Sandra and Gina arrived at the Palace Gates looking splendid and ready to enjoy the special day, which didn’t disappoint!

Pausing to have photo taken with an exceptionally tall Guardsman, the ladies joined the 7,500 Garden Party guests, meeting people from various charities and enjoying music from two military bands which played throughout the afternoon.



They enjoyed watching the Yeoman of the Guard, wardens of the Tower of London and bodyguards of the sovereign, hold ground. Before the National Anthem was played to announce the arrival of the Members of the Royal Family.

Gina and Sandra were overjoyed to be asked to join an official line up so they could greet the Royals in person, where they were thrilled to exchange pleasantries with Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Anne, Princess Royal, and the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.



The ladies also enjoyed a fabulous afternoon tea spent with Algerian Defence Attaché, Lt Colonel Khaled Reghioua, and his wife Sabrina Reghioua, in the Diplomatic Tea tent.


Sandra said:

As a fundraising volunteer, helping to organise the charity’s events is very much a team effort - working with the Fundraising Volunteers alongside members of the charity.

I was delighted and very proud to be asked to attend the Royal Garden Party on behalf of all the charity’s volunteers to celebrate Children First Derby winning the Queen’s Award.

We’ve had a wonderful day from start to finish and I was over the moon to meet with Members of the Royal Family. Thank you to everyone at Children First Derby for a fantastic opportunity.


In 2020, Children First Derby was one of only 230 charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.