Buckingham Palace garden party honour for volunteers

Alex and Nipsey Cross, left, with Diane and Len Morgan at Buckingham Palace.
Alex and Nipsey Cross, left, with Diane and Len Morgan at Buckingham Palace.
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Getting drenched in a sudden downpour while strolling in the gardens of Buckingham Palace was the least of Diane Morgan and Nipsey Cross’s worries.

It was such a “momentous” event for the two sisters from Rutland that the rain failed to worry them in the slightest.

“As soon as the Queen arrived, the heavens opened,” said Diane, who was among the privileged few who got to speak to the Queen during the garden party on Tuesday.

“Most of us were soaked and quickly ran for cover into the refreshments area, but it didn’t spoil the occasion,” said Nipsey, who’s real name is Margaret. There was one big downpour then it all cleared up.”

For Diane, 69, of Galston and Nipsey, 66, from Bisbrooke, it was the “opportunity of a lifetime” as well as an “honour” and a “privilege” to have been invited to the garden party on Tuesday.

It was attended by the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Kent.

Diane, who got to meet the Queen said: “She asked me if we got very wet and I said we did.

“There were people in beautiful dresses and hats, but we all got equally wet. It was still a very special day.”

Nipsey said: “It was all very grand; a most wonderful day. The whole party was very very nice and done perfectly. I will treasure the memories.”

The 7,200 guests were treated to hot and cold drinks, a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones to the backdrop of cheery tunes from the bands of the Blues and Royals and the Irish Guards.

Diane and Nipsey. who were nominated to attend the garden party for their tireless volunteering in the community, were accompanied by their respective husbands Len and Alex.

From organising jumble sales, harvest suppers, multicultural evenings, Christmas parties and coffee mornings the sisters, helped by their husbands, have worked tirelessly in their communities for more than 30 years.

Taking aged and infirm villagers shopping, taking people to, and collecting from, stations or airports and cooking for families while a relative was in hospital are among work that the sisters regularly give up their time for.

They’ve also raised hundreds of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support, Comic Relief and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance.

Semi-retired Diane, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, was finance director for CS Ellis Group in South Luffenham, and still works in its credit control department one day a week. Nipsey works as a mobile hairdresser.

The sisters were nominated by Josephine Hinman and David Perry.

Mr Perry of Bisbrooke wrote in his nomination: “Throughout the whole time I have lived here they have been organising practically every event that has taken place in the two villages. Not only do they initiate and organise but they also encourage everyone to take part, making every event a community get-together. They also find the time and energy to give whatever support to whomsoever needs it. They are always totally supported by their respective husbands in all their efforts.”