Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Top Gun’ treat

A teenager says he feels like “Tom Cruise in Top Gun” after getting the chance to work as Queen Elizabeth’s gardener.

Carl Donnelly from Hightown, near Crosby, beat hundreds of other applicants to win a year-long contract at Windsor Great Park, the 5,000 acre grounds of the queen’s Berkshire home.

Carl said: “I am so pleased. This is the job I have always wanted to do.

“I feel like Tom Cruise in Top Gun, because working in the royal family’s garden is the Top Gun of landscape gardening.

“I was shocked when I opened the letter after my interview.

“I have been interested in fine gardening since I was young. There is so much to it – art, graphic design and having lots of ideas.

“You have to translate what is in your head into the garden.”

The 18-year-old has taken the job as a placement year for his national landscape design and construction diploma course in Preston.

Carl – who has had a uniform specially ordered to fit his slim 6ft 6in frame – beat off competition from older degree students to land the contract.

He added: “I left school at 16 and went to college away from all my friends, because it was what I wanted to do with my life.”

Carl’s mother Andrea, 46, said: “We are so proud of Carl. It has not really sunk in yet. He was so nervous waiting for the letter to arrive, but it was all worth it.

Carl will reside in a flat on the estate, close to the Guards polo club where Princes William and Harry are regular visitors.