“IT’S all been unbelievable,” was Comrie hero Connor Newland’s response to his meeting with royalty last week.
The 12 year-old Crieff High School pupil, who saved his sister’s life in a dramatic rescue last summer, was presented with a gold Blue Peter badge by the Queen at Buckingham Palace as part of the programme’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
And he is still trying to come to terms with the whole experience.
He said: “It’s hard to explain because you feel a lot of different emotions - happy, excited, nervous - it’s all been unbelievable.”
In June last year Connor, his sisters Gemma (9) and Georgia (6), and dad, Dale, were out cycling along the banks of the River Lednock when Gemma’s bike hit some large stones and she careered across the path and over the edge of the riverbank.
Realising his sister was no longer on his tail, brave Connor looked over the riverbank, realised the danger Gemma was in and raced to her rescue. He held her head above water until help arrived.
At the end of August Connor was presented with a Royal Humane Society award for his actions and it was from this that the BBC and Blue Peter heard his story and made the decision to mark his bravery by presenting him with the prestigious award.
Connor was accompanied to the Palace by his very proud dad and sister Gemma, who were also given the opportunity to meet the Queen.
Commenting on the visit, Dale said: “The whole experience was phenomenal. Connor didn’t know until he went to the Palace that he would be getting the Gold award from the Queen, so it was quite a surprise when one of the producers started to tell him how to act in front of her and he realised that he was actually going to speak with her.
“He took it in his stride though and she seemed really nice and asked him where he was from and about what happened during the accident.
“She then took the time to speak to myself and Gemma which we really didn’t expect.”
Connor was told of his trip to meet the Queen by ‘Blue Peter’ presenter Helen Skelton, who surprised him while the youngster was on a tour of Hearts’ Tynecastle stadium in Edinburgh
“Connor knew nothing about the Blue Peter award,” said Dale. “We told him that he had won a day trip to the stadium - but didn’t let on that there was anything else going on.”
But Connor admits that he did have an inkling that something was going on as he was told to dress really neatly.
Said Connor: “I wasn’t allowed to wear anything that might be deemed offensive or with a logo on it - and I had to change twice before we could leave.
“I actually asked on the day ‘why do I have to look so smart - am I going to see the Queen or something?’”
It was during his trip to Tynecastle that he was presented with a Gold Blue Peter envelope which was his invitation to have tea with the Queen at Buckingham Palace!