Shop manager attends Palace garden party for community work

published on 31 May 2022

It’s all in a day’s work for Kevin Dawson-Jennings, manager of The Salvation Army shop in Maldon.

Even if that includes being nominated to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace by a mystery person (or persons).

Kevin, who sees the shop as a “lovely community centre”, said: “I went with my wife, and we had a lovely time. I have no idea who put me forward, it’s a mystery; but it was probably people thinking about the work I had done for the community during lockdown.”

To Kevin, his place of work is more than a shop.

He said: “That is secondary. Hiding behind it is a lovely community centre, where people help out wherever they can.” 

Kevin added: “The shop became a drop-in centre to donate food, jigsaws or cosmetics; things people might struggle to find when it was lockdown. We could still be useful. We received books and sent these out to people in parcels. It put us in the position of urgent responders, dealing with vulnerable people.” 

Kevin and Jenni Dawson Jennings
Kevin and his wife Jenni had a day to remember at Buckingham Palace.

Garden Parties are a way that members of The Royal Family get to meet a broad range of people, all of whom have made a positive impact in their community. Hosted by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice, The Count and Countess of Wessex and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also in attendance at the Palace Gardens.

Kevin was introduced to Princess Beatrice.

He said: “I explained to her what I had done in the community, who I worked for and how wearing The Salvation Army badge was important to me. During lockdown, that badge reminded me every day when I was helping people, that so many needed support. It gave me positivity, oomph, drive and purpose to make sure nobody was left helpless.”

Princess Beatrice told Kevin that The Salvation Army means a great deal to The Royal Family, especially as Princess Eugenie is active in her support of the church and charity’s  anti-modern slavery work.

Kevin said: “She was very gracious and it was nice to hear someone from The Royal Family saying that it means a lot that we are helping. It helps breaks down barriers in society.”

He said of the occasion: “It felt as if the Universe was on my side that day because after speaking to her, I had strawberry and cream ice-cream – my favourite flavour – and then the military stand started playing my favourite piece of film music – the Jurassic Park theme song!”

Kevin Dawson Jennings at Buckingham Palace
Kevin met Princess Beatrice at the garden party
Officer providing support work

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