Leighton Linslade Helpers volunteer invited to ITV's Royal Carols with Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

'The acoustics in the abbey are breathtaking, and it's an experience I will never forget'

By Joanna Gravett
Friday, 24th December 2021, 11:30 am

A member of the Leighton-Linslade Helpers was honoured to be invited to a special carol concert with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Secretary June Tobin was nominated by the HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, to attend a service at Westminster Abbey with Prince William and his wife, Kate.

The hard-working volunteer was chosen in recognition of her services as a BLEVEC Commander (Bedfordshire & Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee), for her role as lead co-ordinator of the volunteers at the Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club Covid-19 vaccination centre, and for her work with the Leighton Linslade Helpers.

June (left) and inside Westminster Abbey.

The carol concert, which was held on December 8, will be featured on ITV tonight (Christmas Eve) at 7.30pm.

June, who was "most honoured" to be chosen, told the LBO: "I had no idea that I had been nominated, until the invitation dropped through my letter box. I had to call the Lord Lieutenant’s office as at first I didn’t think it was real.

"Normally I am not phased by anything, but I have to say I was fretting about my lockdown hair that hasn’t been coloured or cut for two years, as I haven’t had time when the hairdressers finally were allowed to open!"

June started the day by boarding a train into Euston, before heading via taxi to the abbey to avoid public transport and crowds of people.

Inside Westminster Abbey.

She treated herself to lunch in St Stephen’s Tavern, a 'local' to many MPs, and met other people there who where also attending the service.

June remembered: "I queued through a well organized and tight security, and the abbey staff were all dressed in wonderful abbey coats to keep them warm. Everyone was full of happiness and sharing stories of why they were nominated to attend.

"I was very fortunate to be sat in the second block down and on the second row, so I had a really good view of the proceedings.

"While we where waiting both William and Kate appeared from nowhere and started to chat informally to those that had been invited.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Getty Images.

"They noticed my Bedfordshire Hero button badge and asked me about my time as a volunteer. I was also sat next to four soldiers who where the last men out of Kabul, and William thanked them for their bravery and service."

Royal Carols: Together at Christmas is on tonight (December 24) at 7.30pm, and "will bring together inspirational individuals from across the UK who have gone above and beyond to care for and protect those in need during the pandemic."

An ITV spokesperson said: "Led by the world-renowned Westminster Abbey choir, the evening will be full of carols, both uplifting and moving, that make us feel joyous, reflective, warm and Christmassy.

"There will also be guest star musical performances, films, readings and reflections about the importance of human connection and supporting one another during times of hardship and uncertainty."

June's invitation.

June concluded: "It was a magical time watching the celebrities that took part and also joining in with the carols.

"The acoustics in the Abbey are breathtaking, and it's an experience I will never forget."

June (left) is a Bedfordshire Hero.
The Westminster Abbey nativity scene.