Boy, 9, who missed King's garden party after getting stuck in M20 traffic gets special invite

Tony Hudgell is said to have raised £1.7 million in lockdown
Tony Hudgell is the youngest person on record to feature in the New Year Honours -Credit:Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror

A nine-year-old double amputee who missed the King's garden party after getting stuck in traffic for hours has received a special invitation from the palace to make up for it. Tony Hudgell, of West Malling, was "hugely excited" when his invitation to the Buckingham Palace party came after he was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the prevention of child abuse in the New Year's Honours.

His adoptive mother Paula said Tony was "disappointed" when a lorry fire on the M20 thwarted his family's attempt to make it to the event on Wednesday. She tweeted they would not be able to make it but Tony got a boost just before bedtime after a response from the official royal family account asked whether he might "fancy trying again another day?"

The message from The Royal Family account said: "Sorry to hear this, Tony! We were looking forward to seeing you too. Fancy trying again another day? Leave it with us..."

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Tony, who has raised £1.8 million for charity and is the youngest person to feature in the New Year Honours List, is now hoping to make the event at a later date, according to Mrs Hudgell. She said: "We came home and by that time we were quite flat. Tony was disappointed.

"I saw the reply just before Tony went to bed and he went to bed feeling a lot happier. It's left with the palace now and I am sure we will hear back at some point.

"We can't do this year but hopefully we will in the next one. Hopefully by that time (they get to the garden party), Tony will be out of his leg frame and he will be able to walk around the palace gardens. That would be our silver lining, we hope."

Around 8,000 people were in attendance for the Sovereign's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Mrs Hudgell said: "We had left home in plenty of time, four hours before we needed to be there, and it was only supposed to take us 90 minutes at most.

"There was a lorry fire on the M20. We got caught up (with the incident) where the motorway had been shut. We were stranded there for three-and-a-half hours.

"Initially, we were still hopeful the road might still open but knew it probably wouldn't as it was such a huge fire. Our thoughts were with the lorry driver and thankfully he was OK.

"You just have to get on with it. It was a nice day. We were standing on the motorway chatting to other people. Tony was singing and chatting to people."

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