Parkes resident Norma Garment never imagined the flowers she picked in her friend’s garden would end up in the hands of Queen Elizabeth II.
Norma and her husband travelled to Bourke when they heard the Queen was going to open the Nancy Bird-Walton Airport on 22nd March 2000.
“I decided to pick some yellow Tecoma flowers before we went to line up. It was a long wait with lots of security checks and speeches.
She said when the Queen came closer it looked like she was coming towards them. “There were some nuns standing near us, and I thought she was going to talk to them, but then she came straight to me and took my flowers. She shook my hand and the Duke shook my hand!”
Norma was so overwhelmed by the moment that she could not remember if anything was said. “All I can remember is that I was like a Cheshire cat afterwards!”
Norma’s love for the Royal family comes from her mum who was a big Royalist. “I saw the Queen for the first time when my mum took our family from Tamworth to Newcastle for the 1954 visit.”
Norma is also a member of the St George-on-Panorma Home Group in Parkes. “We started in 2006 and are a group of 15 women who meet weekly for Bible study, prayer and friendship. We are also all Royalists,” said Norma.
The group has a tradition of sending cards of support, sympathy, encouragement or congratulations to whoever might need it. When Prince George was born in 2013 one of them had the idea of sending a card of congratulations.
They never expected to receive anything back, but a few months later a card came from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a photo of the couple and baby George.
“It was such a thrill to get a letter back,” said group member Betty Somers, who managed to find the right address for their card.
This spurred them on to send more letters and cards for big occasions in the Royal Family’s life, and every time they’ve received a response.
The one letter they are particularly proud of is dated 21st October 2015 and it said: “The Queen wishes me to thank you for the message you have sent on the occasion of Her Majesty becoming the longest reigning Monarch in British history.”