Forget the celebrities, sporting stars and ‘important’ people attending Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding this weekend, the most important guests are four inspirational young people from Greater Manchester.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have picked four young people who have shown strong leadership and served their communities, to attend their celebrations at Windsor Castle.
These young people have been specifically invited into the grounds of the Castle to watch the arrivals of the happy couple (the best vantage point for those Instagrams!), The Queen, members of the Royal Family and other guests. They’ll also be able to see the start of the carriage procession once Prince Harry and Meghan are married.
The young people include:
Shaneil Hodges, 15, from Manchester
Shaneil was the 2017 winner of Manchester’s ‘Be Proud’ award for bringing communities together. Shaneil is part of ‘Reclaim’ which works to break down barriers and give young, working-class people a voice.
“I helped set up a food festival to get young people involved. I’m taking my mum as my +1 and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Elicia Curtis, 20, from Manchester
Elicia works to help child survivors of sexual abuse and she wants to make a difference in society to support young people going through a difficult time.
“I feel so proud. I never thought I would have the chance to attend something like this and I’m taking it as an opportunity to represent Manchester and Moss Side. It doesn’t matter where you live, you still have the chance to succeed and be recognised.
“I help run an organisation called REIGN which educates professionals on how to protect children who have been or are still within sexual exploitation. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I saw first-hand how young people can be failed by services and professionals who are meant to protect them and therefore, I want to educate these people to make sure the mistakes I went through do not happen again.
“I’m excited for the wedding and I’m sure it’s something I will never forget!”
Jack Godfrey, 18, from Glossop
Jack has been a Royal Marine Cadet in Tameside since he was only 13-years-old and was recently appointed the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester’s Cadet, which means that Jack attends ceremonial events and represents the Greater Manchester Cadet Force.
“I was so nervous when I received the invitation but I’m so excited – it’s a massive honour. I think that it’s brilliant that Prince Harry and Meghan are reaching out to the younger generation and making a difference – they’ve inspired me to strive that bit further and make more of a difference. I just think it’s going to be surreal – I can’t wait!”
Saeed Atcha, 21, from Bolton
Saeed set up Xplode Magazine when he was 15. The youth-led charity teaches young people employability skills and gives them experience in journalism whilst increasing youth voice and participation.
Saeed has served his community since the age of 15 as a volunteer community radio presenter on ‘Bolton FM’, a trustee of ‘Step up to Serve’ one of the Prince of Wales’ charities, a ‘One Young World’ ambassador, an Associate Fellow of the ‘Royal Commonwealth Society’ and a trustee for ‘Beacon Bolton Counselling Service’. Most recently, Saeed joined a panel of experts commissioned by the Government to undertake a review of Social Action across the UK and was appointed Governor at Ladybridge High School.
“When I received the letter, I was so shocked! – I had to read it two or three times to process it and that shock quickly turned into honour. I can’t wait to be a part of this special day. To be recognised and noticed at this level is just phenomenal and still hasn’t quite sunk in yet!”
Follow us on Socials for updates on the Royal Wedding, just search Xplode Mag.