Photo: George Parker
Photo: George Parker

The hard work of the Charities Campaign was acknowledged last week when the Campaign’s former convener was a guest at the Queen’s annual Holyrood garden party.

George Parker, who was the convener from 2013-14, was invited to the party by Maggie’s Fife, one of the Campaign’s nominated charities. The Campaign has worked with the charity for several years and in 2012-13 raised over £13,000 for it.

Maggie’s had itself been invited to the party in recognition of its services to the local community.

Ms Parker said: “The party was great – it was a wonderful chance to explore the grounds of Holyrood Palace and the adjacent Abbey, overlooked by Arthur’s Seat. Military bands played while all the guests enjoyed afternoon tea, with plenty of cucumber sandwiches (of course), and cakes embossed with the royal coat of arms (which almost rivalled the mini fudge doughnuts at the graduation garden party the previous week).

“I met a lot more of the staff from the Maggie’s centre and learned about the work they do, ranging from benefits advisers to community fundraisers. I also chatted to some of the other guests, a lot of whom were there due to their contribution to other charities, such as the Samaritans. It was a great opportunity to celebrate the work that is done for various charities, organisations, and society in general.”

Around 8,000 guests were present at the party. Ms Parker said: “Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were there, and took time to chat to some of the guests. Unfortunately I wasn’t amongst the lucky chosen ones who got to meet them, although at one point I did think the Queen was coming over to greet me, but in fact I had unknowingly stood next to her former chaplain who she had a conversation with instead.”

The garden party celebrates figures from all walks of Scottish life, with an emphasis on those who have contributed to the community. One guest, 103-year-old Margaret Miller, had given more than 70 years of service to the Royal Voluntary Service.

Speaking about the Campaign’s work, Ms Parker said: “I have been involved in the Charities Campaign through all four years at St Andrews, and it has been the most fun and worthwhile thing I have done whilst at university.

During my year as convenor, I have been lucky to work with a fantastic committee and we have held loads of successful events: a record-breaking Race2 Berlin, RAG Week, and Big Top Ball. It has been great to contribute to student life through organising a range of fun events, whilst also giving back to the community through fundraising for local, national, and international charities.

“I never cease to be amazed at how many students get involved with fundraising at St Andrews: there are countless charitable societies, hundreds of students volunteering throughout the year, particularly during RAG week, and around 200 students participate in Race2 each year. It has been wonderful to be part of a university where so many students are dedicated and passionate about fundraising.”

The Charities Campaign said: “There are many wonderful and amazing people within and supporting Maggie’s Fife but the fact that they specifically asked a member of our University’s Charities Campaign to accompany them just goes to show how highly our nominated charities, past, present and future, must think of the work we do. It’s a lovely gesture.”

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