Hastings volunteer receives invite to royal wedding

Steve Wise, pictured right, has volunteered at Hope Kitchen for around eight years. SUS-180430-151655001
Steve Wise, pictured right, has volunteered at Hope Kitchen for around eight years. SUS-180430-151655001

A Hastings man has spoken of how ‘surreal’ it felt to receive an invite to the royal wedding.

Steve Wise, 70, is one of 1,200 members of the public invited to attend the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle on Saturday, May 19.

People were nominated for an invitation based on ‘the strength of their contribution to their local community’.

Steve, who worked as a psychiatric nurse for 42 years, is a church steward at St Leonards-on-Sea Methodist Church and a member of its outreach team.

As part of that, he volunteers at Hope Kitchen supporting homeless people in town – and has done so for the past eight years – and gives talks on preventing slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.

He is also training to become a worship leader.

He was nominated to receive an invite to the royal wedding by the Lieutenancy of East Sussex.

Steve said: “It was quite surreal what happened.

“I got a phone call asking if I would like to be considered – I didn’t think it was real – but I said yes. I thought even if we don’t go, it would be really lovely to be considered.

“Never in a million years did I think I would get chosen.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of people who do this kind of work. The amount of this work that goes on just in Hastings and St Leonards is incredible.

“I feel like I’m representing all of the volunteers up and down the country who do this kind of work.”

Steve, of Stonefield Road, Hastings, will be accompanied to the royal wedding by his wife Sonia, and said one of the things he was most looking forward to about the day was ‘seeing her wear a hat’.

Since receiving his invitation, Steve has appeared on television and radio to discuss the event and raise awareness of the causes for which he volunteers.

He added: “The whole experience thus far has been somewhat surreal.”