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Long-serving school support staff member receives royal recognition

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A school staff member got a royal invitation to one of the Queen’s garden parties in recognition of her work supporting vulnerable students.

Jill Horton, a long-serving staff member at Toot Hill School in Bingham, was nominated to attend one of the Queen’s garden parties for services to education and young people.

She was nominated by Sandy Paley, executive head at the school, as she felt Jill always put the needs of the students first and has undertaken new challenges to better equip the students’ needs — a dedication that has never faltered in the 15 years of working at the school.

Jill Horton filling her boots at Buckingham Palace. (57464092)
Jill Horton filling her boots at Buckingham Palace. (57464092)

“Jill is truly is a most loyal and committed member of our school community, solely focused on caring for and helping our children believe in themselves and succeed,” said Sandy Paley.

Jill was nominated back in 2019 but the original invitation was postponed because of the pandemic.

“I was overwhelmed to get the invite back in 2019 and then to have ten days’ notice this year was both exciting and petrifying,” said Jill. “I had no idea the palace garden was so huge. A stunning avenue of ageless oak trees leading down to a beautiful lake.

“The tea tent stretched the whole side of the palace garden filled with assorted sandwiches, wraps and an amazing variety of cakes — all sampled while listening to two brass bands continuously playing throughout the afternoon.

“I was chuffed to see William, Kate, Sophie, Edward and Beatrice but the highlight for me was the Yeoman of the Guard forming a guard of honour for the royals.

“I’ll be forever grateful to Sandy for her support over the years and for letting me feel like a Queen for the day. My daughter Emma and I did Toot Hill proud.”

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