The United Kingdom has given us Hitchcock, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin, the Beatles, Susan Boyle, the London Bridge, fish and chips, the Industrial Revolution and the Revolutionary War.
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We’re giving the UK Jessica Britton, Amanda Smart and Rikki Lytle.
The El Dorado High trio of cheerleaders will embark Dec. 26 on a trip of a lifetime when they travel to London, England, to participate and perform in the New Year’s Day London Parade. The girls earned the trip at summer cheer camp after a competitive United Cheer Association tryout.
Armed with passports, the three sophomores have spent the past few months fundraising that included car washes, a barbecue, selling various items at the Farmer’s Market and some catering for Jessica’s mom. Neither of the three has ever been to Europe.
“Having this experience is really amazing,” said Britton, who started cheerleading in middle school. “I’m really looking forward to being on the trip, the parade and having fun with my two friends. We learned a dance, a couple of cheers and jumps, and were also evaluated on other personal characteristics and qualities.”
While the parade past Big Ben, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus and Berkeley Square, featuring 10,000 performers, a street audience of one million and TV viewers in excess of 20 million, is the trip’s finale, the girls will enjoy an action-packed week beforehand.
After a day recovering from jet lag, they’ll take a full-day guided tour of London to visit Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral (where Princess Diana was married), Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment.
“I’m really excited — out of hundreds of girls to have three chosen from our school is exciting. We had to be pretty precise in the tryout but we knew what to do, were confident and it worked out,” said Lytle, whose mom Misty is also going. “I’m interested in seeing things that are different and meeting people from different places and learning about them.”
The girls can plan their own itinerary the third day but have to be back at the hotel that evening to rehearse. A trip is planned for the next day to one of England’s greatest historical cities, Windsor, the home to the Royal Palace. Late that night they will embark on a disco cruise along the River Thames.
On New Year’s Eve, Britton, Smart and Lytle have another chance to explore London before attending a West End show in the heart of London’s Theaterland. After ringing in the new year, they’ll turn in to rest up for their big day performing in the London Parade.
“It’s been a dream of mine (to go to Europe) since I was 4,” Smart said. “I really like all the architecture in the cities. My parents have been to Italy and I heard about the trip and saw the pictures. I’m excited to see the country and how the people live — it’s different from California. It’s also great to share this experience with my friends.”
God save the Queen? No, God save England from all the fun Britton, Smart and Lytle will have across the pond.