Middy reader Jean James had some happy memories brought back when she saw a picture of Princess Diana at Burgess Hill in our nostlagia pages.
The Princess, later to be tragically killed in a Paris car crash, was pictured at the opening of Kleinwort Court at Oakenfield.
Royal fan Jean was in the crowd and has a cutting from an edition of the magazine Majesty in which she is pictured just behind the Princess in the huge crowd.
Jean, of Meadow Lane, Lindfield, says: “In the picture it looks as if I am holding a posy for the Princess. But in fact they are my rather colourful gloves, which I have still have today. She was so wonderful with people and it was a very happy day.”
In fact it was so happy that Jean later relived it, featuring in a book called The Day I Met Diana, Princess of Wales- the People’s Stories.
In the book she wrote: “The year was 1985, the date 29 November.
“My nursing colleague and I and I ventured into Burgess Hill, West Sussex, when Diana, Princess of Wales was due that morning to open the Ernest Kleinwort Court Home for Young Disabled People. It was pouring continuously with rain and obviously was very bleak and cold. Crowds gathered quickly, but we managed to get to the front of the barrier. Diana came by helicopter, landing in a nearby field and then the rest of the short distance by car.
“I shall never forget the moment she stepped out-smiling radiantly as she opened her umbrelaa. her gorgeous long red winter coat certainly brightened up the dull day.
“Duty done and exactly a three hour wait for us, her lady-in waiting following behind, the Princess asked how long we had been waiting in the awful weather conditions and hoped we wouldn’t catch cold. She seemd so genuinely concerned.
“I suddenly found myself asking if I could see her engagement ring. She laughed and produced her hand, so we could all see. She seemd so very pleased when we all agreed it was sucha beautiful piece of jewellery.
“On her leaving, a policeman told us Diana was nearly always late departing- seldom did she keep to time.
“I know why-we all do-because, so caring, she was and always will be the ordinary people’s Princess.”