Announcement of a special Garden Party for children

Published 1 February 2006

THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

Buckingham Palace and the BBC today launched details of a special Garden Party for children at Buckingham Palace on June 25th as part of The Queen's 80th birthday events.

The "Children's Party at the Palace" will celebrate British children's literature by inviting children, grandparents, parents or guardians, along with characters from Britain's favourite storybooks, to a tea party and unique entertainment show at Buckingham Palace.

Characters including Tracy Beaker, Paddington Bear, Mowgli, Winnie the Pooh and the Gruffalo will be joining guests in the garden. At 6pm, Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of Roald Dahl, will appear on stage to introduce a specially written show for all the nation to watch live on the BBC. Mary Poppins, the White Rabbit and Captain Hook will also be starring along with the Royal Ballet who will create a Beatrix Potter vignette.

All children living in the UK aged between 4 and 14 are invited to apply from today through a national ballot by logging on to www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc.

2,000 children and 1,000 adults (parents/grandparents or guardians) will then be selected to attend the party.

"Blue Peter" will be broadcasting live from Buckingham Palace this afternoon on CBBC One and the CBBC channel at 5pm with a special programme to unveil details of the party and how children can apply for invitations.

Major publishers and rights holders are also kindly lending their support to the event and working closely with the BBC and Buckingham Palace to create a magical guest experience and show.

Sainsbury's and Jamie Oliver have agreed to create a special version of the traditional British picnic tea for all those invited to the Palace.

To help The Queen's guests enjoy their trip to London and Buckingham Palace, the Mayor of London and Transport for London have kindly donated 3,000 special Oyster Cards which will be given to all invitation winners. The Oyster Cards, with a special commemorative wallet, will enable guests to travel on London tubes and buses free of charge throughout the weekend of the "Children's Party at the Palace".

Some of the characters will be visiting schools and hospitals in the lead-up to the party to read stories to children who may not be able to attend.

Rights holders and publishing companies will also be donating books to a "book pool". "Children's Party at the Palace" will be working with the National Literacy Trust to distribute these books to children living in disadvantaged areas who would most benefit from this gift of a book to own.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "The 'Children's Party at the Palace' will be a celebration of British children's literature, both traditional and modern, which we hope will encourage children to read and enjoy books. The day will also focus on the family and the key role that grandparents and parents, relatives and friends can play in shaping a child's love of books through the favourite stories that families pass down through generations. We hope this day will encourage children to explore new worlds through the characters and their stories.

"The event will bring together the British literary community in a way that benefits children from all backgrounds and cultures and focuses the nation's attention on British children's literature and the magic of books."