Young charity star earns Palace visit

By Jay Grenby, October 24, 2008
Dani Jacobson with Zac Efron and Blue Peter presenter Joel Defries

Dani Jacobson with Zac Efron and Blue Peter presenter Joel Defries

Royal recognition of the efforts of a Borehamwood 12-year-old who raised over £23,000 for charities to mark her batmitzvah was an invitation to a Buckingham Palace party last week celebrating Blue Peter's 50th birthday. Dani Jacobson met the Queen and received a jubilee edition of the famous Blue Peter badge.

The North London Collegiate pupil had earned the money by completing the equivalent of a cross-channel swimming marathon - 1,408 lengths of her local pool. Her main goal was to help the charities and groups which had supported her sister Talya, 14, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Dani's royal date was the culmination of an exciting week. Firstly, mother Beverley took her into London on the ruse of a dental appointment. Instead, they were met by a TV crew fronted by Blue Peter's newest presenter Joel Defries.

Told only that a big surprise awaited her, she was whisked off in a taxi to the Dorchester Hotel, where "room service" heralded the entry of High School Musical heart-throb Zac Efron, who presented a stunned Dani not just with the invitation to Buckingham Palace but also with two tickets for that evening's premiere of the High School Musical 3 movie.

A Blue Peter film team also visited the Jacobson home to capture Dani helping her sister with her daily routine. The footage was shown as part of Blue Peter's 50th birthday special.

Dani was accompanied to the Palace party by her sister and her father Alan. She confided that she had felt "a bit scared" by the whole experience.

Last updated: 5:09pm, October 23 2008