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'Prince Charles helped me build a better life for my son': Naomi Spencer speaks exclusively to Hello! Online

June 1, 2012
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When she steps up to read at the Diamond Jubilee service in St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday, it will be a defining moment for 25-year-old single mum Naomi Spencer. 

Four years ago, when her son JJ was born, the Birmingham lass, who will lead prayers before a congregation of 2,000, and millions more watching around the world, vowed not to become "another statistic".

And the young mother has achieved what set out to do – after starting her own business she was named as the Prince's Trust Young Ambasador of the year. "If it wasn't for Prince Charles' support and his charity, there's no way I'd be happy, running a successful business and providing for my son," says Naomi. 

"I grew up in an urban area. There were nothing but blocks of flats and there's gangs, there's violence, there's no future round here.

"I didn't want to be a statistic, a single mum doing nothing with my life. It's a domino effect – I don't want my son growing up thinking he doesn't have to work and he can live off benefits. So I decided to go for it, and three-and-a-half years later my business is still going. It's amazing."

Naomi's company Candy Bubbles – which supplies balloon bouquets for all occasions – is thriving. She has high-profile clients including Aston Villa, Tesco and B&Q. She started it up after signing up for the Prince's Trust enterprise programme, which taught the basics of how to make a business plan, calculate profit and loss, and deal with taxes.

"I left school at the age of 14 due to being bullied, so I never had a good start at education," she says. The Prince's Trust also sent her on a course to build up her confidence, which was at an all-time low.

"I do inspirational talks now and I've spoken in front of 500 people," says Naomi. "I'm speaking in front of 2,000 on Tuesday and the rest! But I'm ready for it. There's no way I could have done this four years ago, without the Prince's Trust. I would hardly come out of my house four years ago and speak to anyone."

Naomi Spencer

How does she feel about reading for the Queen? "I'm so excited, I'm nervous, I'm honoured," she says. "It's the biggest thing I've ever done – who meets the Queen? I cannot believe it.

"I'm going to be standing about 12 seats from her. Seeing all those jewels in the crown in front of me. Wow! My four-year-old boy is going to be reading about me in the history books. What about that one?"

JJ understands that his mummy is going to be reading for the Queen, says Naomi. But he seems a bit confused about the Prince of Wales. "He goes to school and says Prince Charles is my mum's friend, because we have a picture of me and Prince Charles on the mantelpiece from when I was given the Young Ambassador award," she laughs.

Naomi is all set for the big day. "I got two invitations in the post, with gold bits and bobs and my name Naomi Spencer, commanded by the Queen to attend. It's insane." She's taking a Prince's Trust representative along, as the 25-year-old is unable to choose between her mum and gran, who are both "absolutely overwhelmed". 

There's only one more thing that needs to be organised – her outfit. "I've still got to find a dress," she admits. "I've been donated a hat by one of the young ambassadors – a cream one with swirly bits coming off it, so I need to find something to go with it."

Interview by Katherine Robinson

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