A GIRL from West Byfleet with a rare genetic condition was “treated like royalty” when she was chosen to receive the salute at the final dress rehearsal for Trooping the Colour.

Hasti Brannigan, nine, and her father, Chris, an Army major, were on the dias last Sunday in lieu of the Queen at the Brigade Major’s Review at a barracks in Hounslow, West London. They were the guests of Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone (Welsh Guards), Brigade Major, Headquarters Household Division.

Chris, who is raising money to find a treatment for Hasti’s Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), said: “It was a really special experience.”

The honour of receiving the salute at the final dress rehearsal is given to a different person each year. Trooping the Colour will take place this Saturday (12 June) at Windsor Castle, to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

The Hope for Hasti campaign has so far raised about £800,000, which is funding research.

Chris won a Daily Mirror Pride of Britain award last year for the campaign and he and Hasti received a special message from music star Taylor Swift.

The campaign began with public fundraising events but this was interrupted by the pandemic. Chris raised nearly £400,000 in a 700-mile barefoot walk from Land’s End to Edinburgh,

Chris said that he and his wife Hengameh are hoping to restart the public fundraising events later this year. “We are hoping to raise £1 million, which will go on clinical trials,” he added.

CdLS, for which there is currently no treatment, leads to reduced growth, developmental delay, feeding problems, speech and language difficulties hearing problems and, in many cases, limb abnormalities. Some of the symptoms are progressive.

* FOR more information, and to make donations, visit www.justgiving.com and search of Hope for Hasti.