Sophie meets Princess Beatric at Royal party

Sophie Preston and her mum Dianne meet Princess Beatrice at a huge street party on the Mall celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday. (S)
Sophie Preston and her mum Dianne meet Princess Beatrice at a huge street party on the Mall celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday. (S)

A profoundly disabled Barnoldswick teenager had a day to remember on Sunday when she met Royalty and partied on the Mall.

Sophie Preston (19) was joined at the huge street party by her parents Dianne and David Preston, full-time foster carers, where they met Princess Beatrice.

Sophie, who has Down’s Syndrome and autism and has virtually no speech, communicates via signs and pictures and needs support in most areas of her day-to-day life.

She is at the end of her first year as a residential student at Seashell Trust, of which the Queen has been the patron since her coronation.

The trust is a national centre of excellence for the education and care of children and young people from across the country with some of the rarest conditions.

A party of Seashell Trust students, their families and staff shared luxury picnic hampers at the official Patron’s Lunch with 10,000 representatives of the 600 charities with which the Queen is involved. The young people, who live with complex disabilities including autism, learning disabilities and communication difficulties, braved the downpour to celebrate the Royal milestone.

David said: “The whole weekend was a huge success. The Patron’s Lunch was a brilliant celebration, the fickle British weather didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. We loved the music, parade and especially having a chat with both Princess Beatrice and Chris Hollins. Seeing the Queen at close hand and being a part of the celebrations with the Seashell family was wonderful.”

Dianne added: “We were delighted and excited Sophie was chosen to attend this celebratory event. It was a lovely opportunity to be able to accompany her to such a special occasion. She really enjoyed sharing the excitement of the other students, parents and staff, and especially loved the picnic and parade.”

Sian Thompson, Sophie’s learning support assistant on the big day, said: “The event was really enjoyable. It was lovely to see students, families and staff celebrating together. I think the parade was a highlight - great to see so many charities and organisations represented.”