The West

Boy scores wedding invite
Boy scores wedding invite

Ten-year-old Queensland flood victim Zander Locke says he has scored an invitation to Prince William's wedding next month.

Zander, from the Ipswich suburb of Bundamba, was among 2000 invited guests and onlookers gathered to see the prince in the southeast Queensland city that was devastated by floods in January.

The boy was so impressed that Prince William shook his hand that Zander vowed never to wash it again, but he was even more elated to be invited to Westminster Abbey next moth for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

"He invited me to his wedding," Zander told AAP, with his parents confirming what the prince had told him.

"If we could win the lottery I can make it."

The prince chatted with flood victims and thanked rescuers and clean-up volunteers during his 30-minute stay at Ipswich's West Moreton Anglican College.

Elizabeth Stiffel, who was both a State Emergency Service volunteer and a victim of the January floods, said Prince William thanked her for her efforts and said it was nice to see she was smiling again after the trauma of having her home flooded.

The prince showed he was well aware of local issues, asking people if they had insurance coverage and pointing to Premier Anna Bligh's flood appeal as a possible source of help.

Ken and Carol England told the prince they had been flooded in 1974 and again in January.

"I said we were younger then, we had a young family and now it's not so easy," Mrs England said.

"He was very sympathetic, he hoped the flood relief appeal would benefit us," Mr England said.

Cherie Pascoe told AAP that Prince William was amused by her story of evacuating her house with a car full of uncaged chickens as she fled rising floodwaters.

Anjanette Penfold and her family have just moved back on to their land, albeit into a caravan, two months after it was flooded at Barellan Point.

"I think it's wonderful he's taken time out to come to Ipswich.

"I'm not sure any member of the royal family has been here before," Ms Penfold said.

Cathy Beauchamp, who has run a flood recovery centre in Goodna for the past two months on behalf of a church group, said: "It was little bit mind-blowing meeting Prince William, telling him what we were doing, it was wonderful that he took the time to chat."

Prince William, surrounded by a huge security operation, then left for Grantham, which was hit by an "inland tsunami" on January 10.

He will then travel to Toowoomba, also hit by flash-flooding, before returning to Brisbane for a $500-a-plate charity function on Sunday night.

The West Australian

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