Jacob was really delighted when he found out he had won the Most caring young person award from the Well Child Charity. I decided to nominate Jacob as he is so wonderful with Melissa and sadly, so many siblings of children with complex conditions or serious illnesses are never recognized for all they do to improve the lives of their Brothers and Sisters.
The promise of a trip to London and an overnight stay with a formal awards ceremony and chance to meet Prince Harry was something we could all look forward to, so the shopping began. Jacob was first to find an outfit, for men it is so easy, a lovely suit, shirt and tie, done. Melissa and I on the other hand was a little more complex, as I hadn’t had a night out in four years my wardrobe was in dire need of updating. To cut a very long story short, many dress deliveries,and subsequent returns, and shoe shops later we both also had new outfits.
It all became very exciting once the formal invitations came in the post together with the train tickets. Jacob was especially pleased with the requests for magazine interviews and TV appearances from the office of Well Child. Suitable dates and timings arranged, I cleaned the house from top to bottom, which much to the amusement of Jacob, involved me hanging out of windows to get the last cobwebs.
The camera crews were absolutely lovely and made the whole experience a real pleasure, the reporter from Channel 5 said Jacob was a natural in front of the camera, which made us very proud, he is such a genuine and caring person which really came across in the interviews, which have of course been recorded and played back many times since.
With suitcases packed, we climbed into the taxi to the train station, as always I have to arrive anywhere too early just in case, so we sat on the very uncomfortable seats next to the platform and awaited our first train of the journey. The train arrived on time and the connection to our Euston train also arrived on time so soon we were travelling high-speed to London.
On arrival at Euston station I received a message to direct us to an awaiting taxi which was going to get us through the madness of the London traffic to the safety of our hotel. The Royal Lancaster is a very impressive hotel from the outside and once we had stepped through the doors, opened for us by a gentleman in full livery together with a lovely welcome greeting, we discovered the inside just as grand.
After a mix up with our luggage, they delivered it to the wrong room, luckily it was an empty room so no harm done, an hour after checking in, our suit and dresses were hanging in our wardrobes so we decided to go for a walk as Hyde park is just opposite the hotel. But as Melissa began to get a little restless walking around It soon became apparent that the excitement of the evening was building so we decided to return to the hotel and have a little rest before getting ready.
I usually pride myself on the fact that I can get Melissa and myself ready in the time it takes Jacob to get himself ready but not this time, the phone rang and I was prompted to get a move on. when he knocked on the door in his suit looking so gorgeous I couldn’t help having a tear in my eye. We made our way to the VIP reception room and after passing through security where Jacob was given his Winner badge we found our seats and with a glass of champagne in hand we waited for the Duke and Duchess to arrive.
When It came our turn to be introduced to Harry and Meghan, I feel I can call them that as we have been introduced, Jacob shook hands confidently and with a huge smile on his face, chatted as if with old friends. I have to say that they were the most natural and lovely couple, it was very easy to forget Harry is sixth in line to the throne. Melissa and Jacob presented Meghan with a Peter Rabbit toy, which Melissa then took back and gave to Harry, which was met with much laughter, then with some gentle encouragement from Jacob, Meghan was finally allowed to keep the gift. After all the winners had been presented to the royal couple we were directed downstairs to a drinks reception before the actual awards ceremony. We played spot the celebrity, there were a few we knew but more we didn’t, as we don’t watch much TV and as most were from soaps or reality shows, Jacob used the power of the internet to find out who they were.
Soon we were seated at our table ready for the award ceremony to begin, it was lovely to see Jacob sitting there so proudly wearing his Well Child winner and his Blue Peter badges together on his lapel. As the lights dimmed it was Jacob who appeared on the screen first, the video made especially for the occasion was really special and when his name was called the applause was quite something. He proudly stood for photographs with his award and his smile showed such pride.
The ceremony was in two parts separated by dinner and entertainment, after the awards it was a great chance for Jacob to catch up with celebrities who he wanted to get autographs from. The comedians and TV personalities Dick and Dom came over to our table and were happy to sign Jacobs award and have a picture taken, Dynamo the Magician was also asked to sign and this made Jacobs evening really special.
More pictures were taken and finally at 2am we decided it was bed time,we were all exhausted but buzzing from such a special experience one which we will all remember forever.