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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 12:56 GMT
Ticket ballot for Queen's party
Noddy and Paddington at the Palace
Noddy and Paddington visited the palace to launch the ticket ballot
A draw to win 3,000 tickets for a children's party hosted by the Queen to celebrate her 80th birthday has opened.

The celebration at Buckingham Palace on 25 June will feature a host of characters from Britain's favourite children's books.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling will be among the guests, along with Paddington Bear, Mowgli from the Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh.

Children aged between four and 14 can apply online through the CBBC website.

Star guests

A show based on Roald Dahl's BFG will be performed and will star Dahl's granddaughter, the model Sophie Dahl.

The Children's Laureate, writer Jacqueline Wilson, said it was going to be a "very exciting event".

"There's going to be all different characters from favourite children's books, there's going to be a magnificent play, heaps and heaps of different things for children to do.

"I can't wait until June to enjoy it myself!"

We hope this day will encourage children to explore new worlds through the characters
Buckingham Palace

One of the Queen's favourite books when she was a child was Black Beauty by Anne Sewell, and a palace spokeswoman said the monarch hoped the event would encourage children to read.

"The day will also focus on the family and the key role that grandparents and parents, relatives and friends can play in shaping a child's love of books through the favourite stories that families pass down through generations," she said.

"We hope this day will encourage children to explore new worlds through the characters and their stories."

Jamie's picnic

One thousand children can apply for tickets online until 28 February and successful applicants will get three tickets each so they can take a friend or sibling and an adult.

Chef and school dinner campaigner Jamie Oliver will create a picnic for the guests.

Chris Meade, director of the Booktrust charity, said of the party which will be broadcast live on the BBC: "It seems a fantastic way of putting children's literature on the radar of young people."

The Queen is 80 on 21 April, which she will celebrate with a family dinner at Windsor Castle.

Her public official birthday will be marked with the annual Trooping the Colour parade on 17 June.

Among the other special events planned for her milestone year are a reception at Buckingham Palace on 19 April for people from around the country who share her birthday, and a national service of thanksgiving.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear children speak about the Queen's plans



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Queen's birthday parade
12 Jun 04 |  In Pictures


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