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Brave Epsom girl enjoys front-row view at diamond jubilee river pageant
A brave Epsom girl enjoyed a spectacular view of the diamond jubilee river pageant after receiving a special invitation to attend the Queen’s historic day.
Eight-year-old Hermione Sutton, who lives in College Road in Epsom, suffers from the genetic disorder Prader-Willi Syndrome and was delighted to be able to wave to the Queen from a prime spot on Albert Embankment, next to Lambeth Bridge.
Her mum Helen, 42, applied for tickets in the designated disabled area earlier this year and was thrilled when their names were selected from the ballot.
A self-confessed Royal Family lover, Mrs Sutton has taken Hermione to a number of royal events over the years including Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton last April, for which Hermione also received a special invite.
Despite the heavy rain and wind on the day, Mrs Sutton said the pair savoured every moment as they watched the pageant unfold.
She said: "It was just fantastic.
"We got there at one o’clock and soaked up the atmosphere and then saw the Queen and all the boats really clearly when the pageant was underway.
"It was really exciting. We were literally at the front and couldn’t have been closer if we tried.
"Hermione is obsessed with Kate so she kept pointing her out to me and her dress and she loved seeing the Queen, who we had already seen the day before at the Derby.
"She was absolutely beside herself.
"The provision which is made for the disabled at these events is fantastic.
"To be that close made it more real for Hermione and she was able to really enjoy it as we didn’t have to queue."
Mrs Sutton said attending events like this help Hermione with the learning and social difficulties which come with her condition.
She said: "It does help Hermione’s cognitive abilities and I would like to say a huge thank you to the people at her school, Oakfield Junior in Fetcham, who prepared her for the event - especially Mrs Jenny Mare who is head of the learning difficulties unit.
"It takes Hermione longer than others to process new ideas and at first she didn’t understand what a pageant was.
"She thinks of the river as lime jelly and said she didn’t want to go and watch boats on lime jelly."
Mrs Sutton said Hermione’s siblings - George, 10, and six-year-old Tabitha - also deserve praise for supporting their sister and encouraging her to understand what the diamond jubilee was all about.
She added: "It was a magical experience and we were blown away. The weather didn’t even matter.
"There will never be anything like this in our lifetime again and the Queen was a trooper - smiling and waving throughout the whole day."