A Bacup woman was invited to the King's Garden Party on Wednesday as a reward for dedicating hours of her time helping businesses survive through Covid.

Business consultant Jane Pallister and her husband Shaun, who now live in Bacup, received an invitation to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace after being nominated by Kevin O’Mara from Advanced Journey Chauffeuring, in Stone, Staffordshire.

During the pandemic, Jane lived in Rugeley, Staffordshire, and through her business Boommm Consultancy she worked round the clock to ensure individuals and small and medium-sized businesses could identify an effective strategic response, this ensured businesses survived and people kept their jobs.

In his citation, Kevin said: “Her innovation, research capability and dedication to the business community in the face of this unchartered situation was outstanding.”

Jane, 67, who moved to Bacup two years ago to be nearer family, said: “When I received the invitation to the Royal Garden Party, I was honoured and very emotional.

“We planned to go by train, but there was a train strike, so we drove to services on the M40 and got changed into our posh clothes, thank you to Slimming World in Bacup for helping me to lose weight so I could fit in the cubicle.

“Then it was on to Hillingdon, we used an app to find a private drive to park the car, and then took the tube and a bus to Buckingham Palace.

“A good friend of ours Clive Reeves was attending with his husband David Rowell so we arranged to meet up at the Hyde Park entrance and go in together.”

Once inside, Jane marvelled at the huge urn, the many statues and the garden rooms, with close to 8,000 people attending.

Jane saw the Duchess of Edinburgh Countess Sophie Wessex walking through the party and visitors formed a guard of honour while King Charles and Queen Camilla walked between the rows.

She said: “When I realised they were going to be walking back, I managed to get myself at the front of the line and so was just three feet away from them.

"They turned to me and, although they didn’t stop to speak, they both gave me a huge grin.

“They both looked really healthy and happy. I was delighted to have been at the Royal Garden Party and been able to see them both, given his recent health problems.”

A buffet was served, which included caviar, and waiters were on hand to serve iced Elderflower cordial, ice cream and sorbet.

Jane added: “It was a great honour for both of us and it has left us with a lifetime of memories.”