KIRKBY Lonsdale Town Council chairman Allan Muirhead has spoken of his ‘unforgetable’ experience as a guest at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Coun Muirhead attended the event, the first royal garden party of 2014, with his wife Elizabeth.

The former Westmorland Gazette journalist said: “Our nomination for an invitation was submitted by the county's Lord Lieutenant and came as a complete surprise. My wife and I felt very privileged. It was an extraordinary day; a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“What was most impressive was the friendliness of members of the Royal household who ensured that everyone knew what was going on and guided us to appropriate vantage points. Despite not knowing who else had been invited, we met some people we knew as we enjoyed the traditional finger sandwiches and cakes with tea or iced coffee.

“There were seven members of the Royal Family present - Her Majesty, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Princess Beatrice. Those who spoke to us appeared genuinely interested in who we were and where we'd come from.

“It was a day we shall never forget. Personally, I found standing for the National Anthem in the presence of the Royal Family did something to the hairs on the back of my neck.”