Special day out by royal appointment

A disabled boy from Daventry was among specially invited guests to help the Duchess of Cornwall put up the Christmas tree at Clarence House.

Daniel Ball, 12, who lives in Peartree Close on Ashby Fields, was one of 12 youngsters with life-limiting conditions who receive help from Helen and Douglas House in Oxford, who were invited down to London by the Duchess.

Daniel has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscle degeneration. He said: “It was an extremely good day.

“We decorated the tree and the soldier put a decoration up with his sword. I got to hold his sword, but it was blunt!

“There were sandwiches – Marmite, salmon or egg – and homemade crisps, which were all very nice.

“The Duchess was very nice too. Her house was big and everything looked very expensive.

“Everything was good!”

The Duchess’s assistant equerry, Lieutenant Frederick Lloyd George, great great grandson of the former Liberal Prime Minister and an officer in the Welsh Guards, saluted the youngsters as they entered the room and allowed them to try on his bearskin.

Daniel’s mum Linda said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that the Duchess and Clarence House do this.

“And the Duchess talked to all the children and got down to their level as well to ask them questions.

“The Duchess is the patron of Helen and Douglas House, so that’s why she invites the children, who are picked by Helen House based on who they think will benefit the most from the trip.

“Who else gets a chance to go inside somewhere like Clarence House, meet the Duchess and decorate their tree? It’s wonderful really.”