A YOUNG firefighter spoke with members of the royal family and rubbed shoulders with the new Earl and Countess of Dumbarton at Buckingham Palace recently.

Isla Overend, from Dumbarton’s Young Fire Fighter (YFF), travelled down to the palace to represent the area at Prince Charles’ 70th birthday garden party.

The 16-year-old was selected to attend the royal event on May 22 as part of the Youth United Foundation – a national organisation for uniformed youths – after her name was put forward by her unit leader.

Joining with other YFF representatives from across the country, Isla got to be part of the action with some marshalling and enjoyed a glorious day in the grounds of the palace.

And she even got a glimpse of Dumbarton’s Duke and Countess in their first official appearance as newlyweds while she marshalled the crowd by the podium where Prince Harry gave his speech.

Isla told the Reporter: “We didn’t know until just before what the event was going to be. When I found out I would be going to the palace I was just really excited. I was very apprehensive – not everyone gets to go to Buckingham Palace.

“When we got there, it was so much more than what I thought it would be. It was massive. The gardens were just so big. We were mind-blown.

“I got to see lots of people. It’s nice to talk to people from other units to see how they do things.

“I was really nervous because the royal family were so close. I got to speak to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – she was so lovely. She was talking to us about what we do. It was amazing.

“I think the highlight was seeing Meghan and Harry.”

Allan Young, Dumbarton YFF unit leader, who nominated Isla, said she was a natural choice as one of their longest-serving and most senior YFFs.

He added: “It’s a big stage to get our young people involved with. We were taking our place where we should be.”

Isla added: “I really enjoy it. I like that it’s lots of varied things. I think I’ve got a lot out of it.”