A grandfather was invited to the prestigious Queen’s Garden Party in recognition of his long service to football.
Lawrence Bolino has been involved in grassroots football for almost 60 years – as a referee for 21 years before he worked his way up the Herts FA ranks to vice-chairman before retiring, aged 75.
Now 82 years old, the avid football fan remains involved with the county’s governing body of the game he loves.
On Saturday, he and wife Pamela, 79, were treated to a day out at Buckingham Palace and came within feet of the Queen herself.
Lawrence, of Leverstock Green, said: “The Beefeaters formed a guard of honour right through the crowd. She passed us within a matter of feet – it was a wonderful experience.
“I didn’t realise she is so small. She is a lovely little lady.”
The couple were invited along to the garden party, at which the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Phillip and Prince Andrew were also present, after grand-daughter Samantha Ann Pain nominated Lawrence for a Queen’s honour for his contribution to football.
“They said not on this occasion,” said Lawrence, “but then a few weeks later I got some papers through saying would I be interested in attending the Queen’s Garden Party?
“It was an absolute surprise, it really was.
“We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a day to remember.
“It was great. The food was good, it was all sorts and fresh as a daisy.”
During his younger years Lawrence played for the Hemel Hempstead Rovers and he was chairman of the youth group Hemel Minors for 14 years.
“I still love it and I love being involved with the Herts FA,” he said. “If someone put my arm up my back and said what team do you support I would have to say Arsenal.
“I just love football. I love to see any team from down south win.”