The Royal seal of approval for birthday poem

Dougie Hedley is delighted with the response he got from  The Queen, to the poem he sent her.
Dougie Hedley is delighted with the response he got from The Queen, to the poem he sent her.

An Alnwick pensioner has spoken of his pride after receiving a personal thank-you from the Queen for a special birthday poem he wrote her.

Dougie Hedley said he had tears in his eyes when he read the touching message from the long-standing monarch, who has reigned for more than six decades.

The great-grandfather penned and sent his poem to the Queen earlier this year, to mark her 90th birthday.

And at the end of last month, the message thanking him for his ‘splendid’ piece arrived at his Swansfield Park Road home.

“I am very proud and I feel very emotional,” he said.

“It is nice to know that she read the poem and has taken the time to reply. It is gratifying.”

Dougie, who turns 80 today, said the poem took him about an hour to write.

He said: “I like the Queen and what she stands for. In the poem, I wanted to get across that she has not just been a monarch, but she has also been like a mother. She’s never lost that common touch with people and she has always been interested in people’s lives.”

Fittingly, Dougie and his wife Sheila’s great granddaughter, Aria, was born on the Queen’s birthday. The letter from the Queen, written on her behalf by Lady-in-Waiting Mary Morrison, also congratulates the family on this.

Dougie has written poems since he was 10 and is a regular contributor to the Gazette’s Poets’ Corner.

The letter said: ‘The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for your splendid poem and the message you sent for her 90th birthday.

‘The Queen hopes you will understand that because of the enormous number of birthday cards/messages she has received, it has not been possible to reply to you until now.

‘Her Majesty is most grateful for your kind words, and greatly appreciates the care you have taken to compose your poem especially for the Queen at this time.

‘Her Majesty was pleased to hear of the delight with which you and your wife greeted the news of the arrival on the Queen’s 90th birthday of your first great granddaughter, and hopes the little girl brings your family much joy.’