The weather made it seem a little like a case of ‘long to rain over us’, but Table Tennis England’s representatives still had a fantastic time at the Patron’s Lunch to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Our President, Doreen Stannard, and former General Secretary Rob Sinclair joined members of 600 other organisations of which Her Majesty is patron for the giant street party on The Mall.

And although the elements were not kind for much of the day, the party atmosphere and the chance to mingle with royalty ensured the day was a huge success.

The scene in The Mall
The scene in The Mall

Rob, who attended the event in recognition of his 40 years’ service, which ended when he retired at the end of last year, said: “Despite getting wet, it was really brilliant.

“We were presented with a commemorative cup and saucer and a book and our hampers with all sorts of nice food, including Pimm’s, salmon mousse, sandwiches, salad, chicken, cup cakes, jelly, cheese and biscuits – we weren’t going to starve!”

The Princess Royal talks to Doreen Stannard
The Princess Royal talks to Doreen Stannard

Rob and Doreen also had the chance to chat briefly to the Princess Royal as members of the Royal Family went ‘walkabout’ along The Mall.

Doreen said: “She was very friendly. She came over and said hello and spotted my President’s badge and then she also saw Rob was wearing his Vice-President’s badge. She said she hoped we were enjoying the day.

Click here to watch a time-lapse video of the event

“It was absolutely fantastic, a remarkable experience and really lovely. The atmosphere was electric, you couldn’t wish for better.

“We felt privileged to be there, it meant so much to us.”

The Queen and Prince Philip at the Patron's Lunch
The Queen and Prince Philip at the Patron’s Lunch

Also joining the party was Karen Tonge MBE, who was representing the British Table Tennis Association for People with Disabilities (BTTAD) as their Chairman. She was accompanied by her husband, Ken.

She said: “It was great honour to be recognised and selected by Sport & Recreation Alliance, out of their 320 member organisations, to represent the BTTAD.

“Despite the pouring rain everyone had an enjoyable time and the sun arrived in time for the Royal walkabouts. Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence came over to talk with us.”

Karen and Ken Tonge at the Patron's Lunch
Karen and Ken Tonge at the Patron’s Lunch