Usually it is once-in-a-lifetime but Chris de Blocq van Kuffeler from Stoke near Hartland is off to his second Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace

A Hartland stalwart of Bideford Sea Cadets is preparing for the rare honour of attending his second Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Usually the invitation to one of the parties with Her Majesty in attendance comes just once in a lifetime, but Chris de Blocq van Kuffeler will be attending his second on May 16.

Chris, 71 and from Stoke near Hartland, was invited because of 25 years of voluntary service on behalf of Bideford Sea Cadets but also for forging strong links with the sea cadets in Holland.

Thanks to his dual nationality he has become one of the main sea cadet liaisons between the two countries.

In November will be taking a party of cadets from Bideford to Arnheim for Remembrance events, following up on a previous visit in 2013.

When he meets the Queen in a couple of weeks it won’t be for the first time.

He served as a marshal in London for the Commonwealth flag standard bearers for 23 years and met Her Majesty several times.

In recognition of that service he was invited to Buckingham Palace for a garden party in the 1980s.

On one occasion during a reception at Lancaster House and for no apparent reason, the Queen singled him out and decided she wanted to talk to him.

He said: “The crowd sort of parted in front of me and there I stood. She came over and we had a chat.

“I am extremely honoured that this should have happened now. There can’t be many in the country to whom this has happened and it means I feel rather small, I suppose.”