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‘One in a million’ volunteer to attend Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
‘One in a million’ volunteer to attend Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

Hft Press Releases

‘One in a million’ volunteer to attend Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

Published: 09/05/17

A volunteer from Bognor Regis who has donated thousands of hours to supporting people with learning disabilities has been invited to Buckingham Palace in recognition of his efforts. 

For the last 10 years David Taylor has been volunteering with Hft, a national charity which supports adults with learning disabilities. As a thank-you for his dedication, the charity nominated him for an invitation to a Royal Garden party.

David will be among several thousand people invited to the event on Tuesday 16 May, the first of three Buckingham Palace Garden Parties taking place this summer. Guests are free to eat, drink and take a stroll around the Palace gardens, and may also have the chance to speak to members of the Royal Family.

As a volunteer at Hft’s Sussex service, David’s role is extremely varied - from gardening and DIY, to pressing apples and bottling juice at the service’s orchard. He also created and manages The Engine Room: a vast working model railway, complete with landscaping and scenery, which people at the service help to maintain.

Later this year he will also be joining a team of staff on a fundraising trek in Iceland, alongside one of the people supported at the service.

David, who has a mild learning disability himself, said that the news of his invitation came as a complete surprise. “I was shocked but very proud,” he said. “I phoned my mum straight away and she’s so excited. It’s a huge honour to be invited to go to Buckingham Palace.”

This is not the first time that David’s commitment has been recognised. In 2016 he was named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at Hft’s Fusion awards, which reward people who go above and beyond to enhance the lives of the people they support.

Hft Operations Manager, Sarah Shallis, said: “We’re delighted that David has been invited to go to Buckingham Palace - I can’t think of anyone more deserving. It’s rare to find a volunteer who’s prepared to get involved with such a range of activities and for such a length of time. He really is one in a million."

David receives his Volunteer of the Year award

Notes to editors

For further information please contact: Suzanne Fry, PR & Media Manager, on 0117 906 1755 or For media enquiries outside of office hours please call 0117 906 1697

About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centered support across all its services. 

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft please visit

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

Subject: Staff & volunteers
Location: Hft Sussex

Volunteer with Hft

Donate your spare time and make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities