current location: current location:home page > Press center4 > I thought my Coronation invitation was a prank text

I thought my Coronation invitation was a prank

2023-06-01 17:19:19 source:CBS News author:Press center 1 click:838order

A scout leader, a nurse, the founder of a charity and a refugee are among those from Northern Ireland who have been invited to attend official events to mark King Charles III's Coronation.

In 1953 more than 8,000 guests attended Queen Elizabeth II's coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Saturday's proceedings will be slimmed down, with about 2,000 invited to the abbey.

Among those who have received a special invitation from Northern Ireland are three people who have gone out of their way to help others.

When nursing student Claire Thompson was on placement at an adult day centre she was surprised to see so many were using Makaton.

Makaton is a communication tool using speech and symbols to enable people with disabilities or learning disabilities to communicate.

It uses signs and symbols to help people who find speaking difficult.

"I genuinely believed only children used it but seeing adults use it I could see it was important for them to connect and feel listened to," she says.

She took to social media when she realised her course didn't teach student nurses about the signing tool.

Claire now makes videos of herself using Makaton signs to raise awareness.

"I make funny videos and serious videos and it's impacted the community; I believe that I can change the world one sign at a time."

She is now being honoured for the work she is doing - but couldn't believe it when she received her invitation to the Coronation.

"I was driving home from a lecture and received an email inviting me to the Coronation - I thought it was a prank. I asked my lecturer: 'Is this legit?'

"I think I am making a difference, I wouldn't say that myself but this is the proof that something is changing. I am honoured that the King would know that."

Hassan Alkhawam has already met the King twice and cannot wait to see him again.

Now 25, he fled the war in his home country Syria in 2017 and moved to Northern Ireland with his family.

His dream was to go to university but first he had to take an English language course which he couldn't afford.

The Prince's Trust - the charity founded by the then Prince Charles in 1976 - was able to help.

As a result, Hassan wanted to give something to people who found themselves in a similar situation.

"Me and two people decided to set up an organisation that helps refugees, asylum seekers and migrants - we try our best, as much as we can, to help others," he says.

Hassan is "on the edge of my seat" with excitement after being invited to the Coronation.

He says the King is "humble, very kind and supportive".

"He also encouraged me a lot to keep going and he was just like a normal person talking to me. It just made it so easy. I can't wait to see him again."

When Christopher Sherrard's father died in a road traffic accident in 2016 the impact on his family was huge.

The Londonderry man and his family found that there was no immediate support for families after such a tragedy.

As well as the emotional toll there were practical problems, such as dealing with credit card companies while going through grief.

"People would say: 'I'll be there for you if you need me and then three weeks later they would disappear,'" says Mr Sherrard.

The family decided to put out an appeal on Facebook and within a week they had a huge response from families in the same situation.

As a result his charity Life After was born and it supports those bereaved by car crashes.

The charity works with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which passes their details to grieving families, providing hundreds of people with emotional and practical support.

Mr Sherrard says it is a huge honour to be invited to a Coronation garden party at the palace.

"It's something I will never experience again - everything we do is voluntary and it's just great to get that recognition.

"All we want to do is help - I just dread to think what we would be doing without the charity."

Gillian McEvoy, a scout leader from Bangor in County Down, has been involved in the organisation since she was 15.

Now a leader with Explorer Scouts in north Down, she even met her husband through the organisation.

She, her husband and teenage children are all involved: "It's a family affair," she says.

"It's just great to see those kids getting involved in different things and having that fun and adventure that they wouldn't get [in] other places than the scouts," she says.

The scouting organisation has a long-standing connection to the Royal Family - the late Queen Elizabeth II was the patron.

Gillian's invitation to the Coronation event comes after scouts from Northern Ireland volunteered at the late Queen's Lying in State.

"When we got the invite it was totally out of the blue," she says.

"I was told it was recognition for all the work that I done over the years so I was absolutely blown away and really delighted to be chosen."

She will be at St Margaret's Church, which is next to Westminster Abbey, with three teenage scouts from Northern Ireland.

"We'll be among the first lot of people to greet the King when he comes out after the Coronation - which should be great.

"We very much are a community-based organisation; we're delighted to be there, to be representing the scouts."

author:Press center6
headline news
News Rankings