It was a right Royal occasion for one Cloughmills student last week when he was a special guest at a garden party in Hillsborough Castle which was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
20-year-old Stefan Clarke was at the garden party representing CAN in Ballymoney and was accompanied by CAN Training and Employment Officer Kim Anderson.
Stefan is a participant on the WE CAN programme funded by DEL, ESF and NHSCT. WE CAN provides training and support to adults with learning difficulties, Autism and Mental Health and signposting towards employment.
Kim explained: “Stefan had been nominated to attend the garden party and was picked out for one of the invitations. We did not know who was coming to the garden party at Hillsborough Castle until the night before. When I collected Stefan that morning and told him it was going to be William and Kate, he was super excited and enjoyed the chance to get dressed up in a suit.
“When we arrived at Hillsborough we had to park in a special car park and were then bussed to the Castle itself. Once through airport-style security, we went down into the gardens.
“There was afternoon tea with sandwiches and little buns, strawberries and cream and the incredible Ulster Orchestra were playing - the whole thing was just beautiful. Everyone just chatted together and then when the flag went up, everyone gathered round, It was rather funny as all the ladies in their high heels were sinking into the grass.
“There was a trumpet fanfare and the national anthem and then William and Kate came out. Kate came pretty close to us. She was really lovely, very pleasant and smiling and was trying to make eye contact with as many people as possible. It really was a lovely atmosphere and a great experience.”